Individual Sanctions Explained: Lawyer says sanctioned individuals may continue to thrive in their home country but cannot engage internationally

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Last week, the United Kingdom (UK) government imposed stringent sanctions on the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Anita Among, and two former ministers, Mary Goretti Kitutu and Agnes Nandutu, for their alleged involvement in corrupt activities that have deprived vulnerable communities of essential resources and undermined the rule of law.

The two ministers, now subject to a travel ban and asset freezes, are alleged to have stolen iron sheets from a housing project in the Karamoja region and provided them to prominent politicians and their families. Speaker Among is alleged to have benefited from the scheme.

In response to these developments, Speaker Among commented that the sanctions were unrelated to the iron sheets scandal but were instead a response to her efforts to advance the Anti-Homosexuality Act in the Parliament. She further clarified that the sanctions would not affect her, as she does not own any property in the UK and has no immediate or future plans to travel there.

To begin with, sanctions are economic and political measures designed to influence the behavior of states, groups, or individuals. For instance, sanctions may be introduced to change the policies of a state threatening international peace and security or to compel a state to halt systematic violations of human rights.

While most sanctions are government-to-government, the most potent are international sanctions authorized by the United Nations. Nevertheless, countries can also sanction individuals, as in the case of Speaker Anita Among and the two ministers. The terms of these sanctions are specified by the sanctioning country and are tailored individually, each country having its own specific means of imposing sanctions based on its laws and governmental structures.

Sanctions are deliberately imposed to cause financial hardship for the targeted individual. They not only deny entry into the sanctioning country but also allow for the seizure of any assets held by the sanctioned person in that country. They further prevent the sanctioned person from engaging in transactions with businesses in the country, including banks. Any attempt by the sanctioned individual to conduct business with other individuals, business entities, or countries will result in frozen or intercepted funds until such time as others cease to engage in transactions with the sanctioned individual.

When the United States imposed sanctions against Gen. Kale Kayihura in 2019, his immediate family members were also sanctioned and designated. In the case of Speaker Anita Among, the scope of sanctions could potentially extend to her husband, Budiope East MP, who also serves as the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA) boss, Moses Magogo.

This website also sought legal interpretation of the sanctions. Emmanuel Kirya, a lawyer at KBW Advocates (formerly Kwesigabo, Bamwine Walubiri Advocates), explained that sanctions must always be issued in accordance with international law and human rights and usually entail coercive measures to cause financial difficulty for the target individual.

He further noted that in 2018, the UK Parliament passed into law the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act. Under this law, the UK has been sanctioning several individuals whom they believe to be involved in serious corruption, thus the update to the UK Sanctions List to include Anita Annet AMONG, Mary Goretti KITUTU, and Agnes NANDUTU on grounds of serious corruption involvement.

Regarding the impact of sanctions on an individual’s future opportunities, Kirya stated that, in addition to causing significant financial hardship, freezing assets, and restricting travel—which could limit access to essential services and support—sanctions also have the potential to curtail international opportunities.

“Sanctioned individuals may thrive in their home country but cannot engage in international markets. If a sanctioned individual holds a position of authority, they are unable to attend international conferences where key decisions are made and cannot be nominated, appointed, or voted into key international roles, resulting in a stagnated career,” he said.

However, Kirya emphasized that sanctioned individuals have the right to request revocation or variation of sanctions.

“An individual who believes they do not meet the criteria for sanctions or are no longer eligible to be on the sanctions list has the right to request revocation or variation of their designation. They must provide relevant verifiable evidence supporting their request for why their designation should be varied or revoked, alongside a completed Sanctions Review Request Form,” Kirya explained.

He added, “If satisfactory evidence is presented, the UK Secretary of State can vary, revoke, or suspend such sanctions placed on an individual and must take appropriate steps to publicize the variation, revocation, or suspension of the sanctions.”

The post Individual Sanctions Explained: Lawyer says sanctioned individuals may continue to thrive in their home country but cannot engage internationally appeared first on Matooke Republic.

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