British aid 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 in 2008-09.
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 projects.
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 corrupt regimes.
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.
Top of the range: The Gulfstream G550 is described as the 'world most versatile and stylish long-range jet' and can carry 18 passengers
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.’
Discovery: Lord Ashcroft found out that public money had been used to buy the jet
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 corruption.
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 and inefficiency.
‘There has been an overhaul of the aid programme since then.
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