KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan police said on Saturday a minister had been arrested for taking a bribe from a hotel owner after promising he would in return help him deal with sexual harassment accusations from one of his workers.
Taking bribes and embezzlement of public funds is rampant in the east African country but arrest of ministers and other top government officials accused of graft is rare.
Government critics often blame graft on long ruling President Yoweri Museveni who they say is reluctant to punish corrupt but loyal supporters.
Museveni, 72, has been in power since 1986.
Emilian Kayima, police spokesman, said junior minister for labour, employment and industrial relations, Herbert Kabafunzaki, was arrested shortly after taking a bribe of 5 million shillings ($1,385).
He was arrested at a hotel in the capital Kampala, where Kabafunzaki had received the bribe.
The amount was part payment of total of 10 million shillings that he had demanded from a hotel owner who this week a female worker accused of harassing her for sex.
“He had promised to help him (hotel owner) sort out that issue,” Kayima said.
“He was arrested shortly after he had received the first instalment of 5 million shillings.”
Business people routinely complain of being asked by government officials to pay bribes before receiving services and the critics say the vice undermines the flow of investment and stifles entrepreneurship.
($1 = 3,610.0000 Ugandan shillings)
Reporting by Elias Biryabarema, editing by David Evans