money was used by an African dictator to buy a £30million jet, it
emerged last night.
Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni bought the top-of-the-range
Gulfstream G550 private plane in the same year ministers gave his
poverty- ravaged country £70million.
During the same period Uganda also received around £57million
from the UK through the European Union.
The autocratic 67-year-old leader – currently facing criticism for
launching a violent crackdown against protesters demanding an
Egyptian-style uprising – received the cash under the Labour government
Mr Museveni, who fought an election with posters depicting him as
Rambo, bought the new 562mph plane while millions of civilians
struggled to feed themselves.
The Gulfstream G550 can carry 18 passengers in comfort and has been
dubbed the ‘world’s most versatile and stylish ultra-long-range jet’.
The revelation highlights the controversy of hard-pressed British
families being asked to fork out higher taxes to pay for spurious aid
The EU has been criticised by auditors for failing to measure the
impact of the handouts, with much of the money lining the pockets of
The Government has carried out a sweeping review of how aid money is
distributed and spent. In future, funding will be targeted on sectors,
such as health and education.
But International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is facing a
backlash for expressing his desire to make the UK a ‘development
Ministers are increasing aid spending by 34 per cent to
£12billion at a time of austerity at home and Prime Minister
David Cameron will again defend the policy at an event on Monday.
Last night Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer who uncovered the use of public
money to buy the jet, said it was vital that the review tightened up
the rules on how developing nations spent aid money.
He said: ‘The UK needs to be very careful before giving budgetary
support to avoid extravagance such as this. It is simply a joke. We
must make sure these things do not happen again as they appeared to
happen too easily under Labour.’
Chris Heaton-Harris, a Tory MP and former MEP, said:
‘Government-to-government aid without proper checks just does not work.
We need to be absolutely sure that every penny of UK taxpayers’ money
given in aid alleviates poverty and provides good value.’
President Museveni was involved in the war that deposed brutal tyrant
Idi Amin in 1979 and has led Uganda since 1986.
But recently the ex-guerilla fighter has been dogged by charges of
In 2005, health charities suspended some grants to Uganda, citing
alleged financial mismanagement and last year the EU cut budget support
to Uganda amid serious fears the regime was pocketing funds.
His presidential election victory in 2006 was condemned after the
arrest on treason and rape charges of his main rival, Dr Kizza Besigye.
And in April, Mr Museveni’s military police attacked protesters amid
growing unrest sparked by rising food and fuel prices.
A source close to Mr Mitchell said: ‘This issue dates back to the
previous Labour government, who simply weren’t tough enough on waste
‘There has been an overhaul of the aid programme since then.’