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DPP Seeks UGX 10bn for Recruitment, Security

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According to the draft budget, the DPP seeks Shillings 250 million for CCTV cameras, biometric access system, scanners and detectors and Shillings 1.26 billion, 7 double cabin pickups for State Attorneys on high risk assignments and 3 Station wagons of Shillings 900 million.
Deputy Director Public Prosecution, Amos Ngolobe appearing before the Public accounts Committee.

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The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution-ODPP is seeking Shillings 9.99 billion in the coming financial year to address the staffing gaps of prosecutors, retooling and security.

In a four page letter dated October 17th 2018 addressed to the Finance Minister seen by URN, Justice Mike Chibita, the Director Public Prosecution, highlights the problem of understaffing of prosecutors, saying it has undermined work in the directorate.

"In 2016, the Ministry of Public Service approved a new ODPP structure providing for 833 prosecutors. This was necessitated by among others, the ever increasing criminal case load and complexity, the needs to respond to increasing demands for criminal prosecution services in the districts, improve prosecution service delivery, and properly align criminal prosecution services with police and judiciary criminal justice services," reads part of Chibita's letter.

He says that only 345 (41%) of the approved 833 vacancies of prosecutors are filled. He also explained that there are less than 300 prosecutors for the field stations, which require 695 prosecutors while the headquarters have less than 50 prosecutors out of the more than 130 required.

Chibita says each regional office requires at least 10 attorneys but most of them have one lawyer. "The ODPP has fewer prosecutors than Magistrates and judges at most of its established district field stations and Regional Offices across the county. Further, the ODPP is unable to deploy prosecutors in more than 40 established courts with Magistrates," reads the letter further.

The courts with prosecutors include Aduku, Apala, Baale, Bugembe, Buikwe, Bukakata, Bulambuli, Busembatya, Butenga, Buvuma, Buyende, Bwizibwera, Ishongororo, Kakumiro, Kakuto, Kangulumira, Kanoni, Kazo, Kibuku, Kigandalo, Kigumba, Kihihi, Kityerera and Kiyunga.

The others are Koome, Kyankwanzi, Kyazanga, Lukaya/Kalungu, Lwemiyaga, Lwengo, Maddu, Maracha, Namayingo, Ngogwe, Nsangi, Nsika, Ntenjeru, Nwoya, Oyam, Padibe, Rubindi, Rubirizi, Sanga and Wobulenzi.

Chibita adds that the inadequate wage provisions have resulted in dampened morale of State Attorneys that negatively impacts performance due to stagnation at one level arising from failure to carry out timely promotions.

He proposes to address the issue of understaffing and wage problems by carrying out promotions at different levels, which will require an enhancement of the ODPP's annual wage bill by Shillings 4.26 billion. 

Chibita notes that the funding will translate into his ability to recruit more than 80 new State Attorneys at entry level and improve staffing levels for prosecutors by 10% from 41% to 51% in the 2019/2020 financial year.

He further notes that his office will need Shillings 1.9 billion to acquire working tools and equipment arising from new recruitments. These include among others desks (Shillings 68 million), Chairs (Shillings 48 million), Computer desktop work stations and accessories (Shillings 560 million), Induction and settlement (Shillings 240 million), Duty facilitation allowance (Shillings360 million) and basic legal reference materials (Shillings 240 million) among others.

The letter also reveals that the ODPP requires an assortment of security equipment including CCTV cameras, biometric access systems and metal detectors. He cites the increasing security risk involving person, premises, assets and case files. He says that this equipment is required at the headquarters as well as different field stations.

According to the draft budget, the DPP seeks Shillings 250 million for CCTV cameras, biometric access system, scanners and detectors and Shillings 1.26 billion, 7 double cabin pickups for State Attorneys on high risk assignments and 3 Station wagons of Shillings 900 million.

The others are Shillings 842 million for security of 130 field offices and Shillings 576 million to cater for security of ODPP headquarters, bodyguards and residences.  The Auditor General, John Muwanga, in his June 2016 audit report queried the staffing gaps at the ODPP despite having a revised structure of the Directorate.

"A review of the Directorate's Ministerial Policy Statements revealed that the Directorate had 1,343 approved staff, out of which 506 positions were filled and 837 positions remained vacant as at the closure of the year. These include key posts of: Principal Assistant DPP, Assistant DPP; Chief State Attorneys, Senior Principal State Attorney and Principal State Attorney," reads part of the audit report.

Muwanga said inadequate staffing may result into higher work load and case backlog and affects service delivery. Tasked by the Public Accounts Committee Vice Chairperson, Gerald Karuhanga about the understaffing, the Deputy DPP Amos Ngolobe attributed it to underfunding, saying his office has previously addressed the matter to Finance Ministry without response.

He said that they had a meeting over the same with the State Minister for Finance in charge of Planning, David Bahati and the Director Budget Kenneth Mugabe this month who advised ODPP to write another letter and promised to provide funds next financial year. 

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Karuhanga advised ODPP also to look at bringing the matter to the attention of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, which supervises the sector.

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