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Ex-minister seeks distance from Finnish businessman’s death in Uganda

Ex-National Coalition Party minister Suvi Lindén said she was in Uganda as a representative of the UN's Broadband Commission, but the organisation said she had no official role.

Suvi Lindén
Suvi Lindén Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Former National Coalition Party Minister Suvi Lindén took to Facebook on Friday to clear up questions over a recent trip to Uganda, where a Finnish businessman with whom she had previously cooperated was found dead.

Writing on the social media platform, Lindén said she had travelled to Uganda more than a week ago to get an understanding of the level of the Ugandan information society. She wrote that she had been charting Ugandan government ministries’ readiness to roll out a project that would provide affordable smartphones to help citizens in their daily lives.

Lindén’s presence in Uganda raised eyebrows because the Finnish businessman with whom she had travelled to the country died under hazy circumstances in the capital, Kampala. Lindén and the man were the only Finns in the party.

On Friday, Ugandan police confirmed to Yle that they were investigating the man’s death as a case of murder. Officials in Kampala said that they were awaiting the completion of the toxicology report to help determine the cause of death.

Also on Friday, Finland's National Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it was cooperating with Ugandan officials to get to the bottom of the businessman's seemingly mysterious death. The organisation also said that the man's body had been transported back to Finland.

UN agency: Lindén's role voluntary

So far, Lindén has offered very little comment on the purpose of her trip to the east African country. The former minister did not respond to attempts by Yle to contact her. In a previous Facebook post, Lindén said that she had been travelling as a special ambassador on behalf of the UN’s Broadband Commission.

However the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, which oversees the Broadband Commission, said on Thursday that Lindén had no such role.

On Friday, Lindén wrote that the goal of her visit to Uganda had been to get an impression on the country’s information society level. She had previously been involved in a project that aimed to create a smartphone ecosystem that would reduce phone prices with the help of different income sources, such as advertising revenue.

The former politician said in her update that she had a reciprocal agreement with the secretary general of the ITU that she would use the title "special ambassador". However the ITU told Yle that Lindén was not an official representative of the commission, but served in a voluntary capacity.

Lindén did not comment on the death of the Finnish businessman in her update.

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