Uganda Denies Smuggling Report

150 150 Rapaport News

(Rapaport…November 8, 2002) The Ugandan embassy in Washington, D.C. today denied allegations that the Ugandan president’s son, brother and sister-in-law trade in illicit gems from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The charges were made in a new report, “Network War,” issued by the International Peace Information Service of Belgium. It accused President Yoweri Museveni’s family and several other prominent Ugandans of conflict diamond trading. It claimed a “ghost company” called the Victoria Group was behind the operations.

Richard Kabonero, the embassy’s spokesman, said the allegations stem from a year-old, unfounded United Nations (UN) report. “There was no evidence presented by the panel,” Kabonero said. “So we really don’t attach any credibility to that report.”

The Victoria Group does not exist, Kabonero said, allowing that some illegal diamonds may make it across the porous DRC-Uganda border: “There has always been smuggling. We cannot monitor every economic activity that goes on.”

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