KAMPALA – Buganda Kingdom has dismissed reports that it owes US Embassy money over failed implementation of a construction project.
Sections of the media on Monday indicated that lack of accountability had forced the US Embassy to demand a refund of the money which had been contributed towards the reconstruction of Kasubi Royal Tombs, the burial grounds of Sekabaka Walugembe Muteesa I, Danieli Mwanga II, Daudi Chwa II and Sir Edward Muteesa II.
The historical site was gutted by fire in March 2010 and major restoration works commenced in 2013 after Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II appointed Charles Peter Mayiga as Kingdom Premier.
Earlier reports indicated that the money was meant for setting up an information centre at the cultural site according to an agreement signed on September 29, 2014 between the then Deputy Kingdom Premier Ssemambo Ssekimpi and the US Embassy officials. But the report added that the funds were later recalled after Buganda Kingdom failed to account for the initial release of the funds.
However, the Kingdom Minister of Information Noah Kiyimba said that the publication was full of falsehoods.
He said the grant by the US Embassy in Kampala was supposed to be utilized within a specific timeframe, which wasn’t possible mainly due to the ongoing works at the tombs.
“In order to fulfil the terms of the grant, the Kingdom of Buganda refunded the money on January 12, 2017 and was issued with an official receipt,” Mr Kiyimba said in a statement.
The US Embassy Spokesman issued the following response to that effect:
“The U.S. Embassy in Kampala provided financial assistance to the Buganda Kingdom several years ago for a cultural preservation project at the Kasubi tombs. Unfortunately, kingdom officials were unable to use the money for the project by the specified project end date. In accordance with standard procedures, we asked for the money to be returned, and kingdom officials returned the money. The U.S. government supports the preservation of cultural heritage around the world, and we look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with the Buganda Kingdom as well as other kingdoms in Uganda and other cultural institutions on projects in the future.” Phil Dimon, Spokesman US Embassy in Kampala.