Daily Mail pays damages to Ugandan PM over £10m foreign aid fraud story

The Daily Mail has apologised and agreed to pay substantial damages to the prime minister of Uganda over a report which suggested he was involved in theft of millions of pounds of foreign aid.

The original Daily Mail piece was headlined: “£10m foreign aid went to cronies of Ugandan PM”.

Making a statement at the High Court today solicitor Andrew Stephenson, acting for prime minister Amama Mbabazi, said that the auditor general in Uganda had produced a report which had revealed irregularities, fraud and forgery on the part of staff working within the Office of the Prime Minister. But he said there was no suggestion in the report that Mbabazi was responsible for, or benefited from, the theft of the money.

Solicitor for Associated Newspapers Julian Darrall apologised on behalf of the publisher and said they had agreed to pay a “substantial sum” in damages plus legal costs.

Prime Minister Mbabazi said in a statement: “I was shocked that these headlines were published in the English press.

“Neither I nor my friends benefitted from the acts of fraud and forgery. On the contrary it was at my direction, through the Permanent Secretary of the Office of Prime Minister, that the Auditor General’s investigation was instigated.

“Far from being involved or implicated in theft, I was responsible for the process which exposed the serious offences which have resulted, in June this year, in the conviction and sentencing of the former Principal Accountant. I am pleased that the publishers have acknowledged their error, and apologised to me in court.”

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