NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Uganda’s Red Cross (URCS) said it will not shield its secretary general from justice, after the police began investigating him for smuggling.
Police and the revenue authority raided Michael Nataka’s house two weeks ago, seizing suspected contraband goods worth over 800 million Ugandan shillings ($300,000).
The goods included 20 giant plasma televisions, 10 computers, beds, sofas, mirrors and construction materials that had been imported from the Kenyan port of Mombasa, according to local media. URCS is exempted from paying taxes on items for humanitarian operations.
“It is cooperating fully with the police investigations and it will not cover up for any misdeeds of the Secretary General or anybody else involved in this matter,” the agency said in a statement late on Friday.
It was responding to calls by the minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees for Nataka to be suspended.
Nataka’s passport has been confiscated by the police while they investigate tax evasion, conspiracy to evade tax, conflict of interest and abuse of office, local media report.
Questions have also been raised over the operations of Musalaba Mwekundu (Kiswahili for Red Cross), a company that provided financial services and materials to URCS without competitive bidding, according to New Vision newspaper.