According to a recent survey by the Inspectorate, the cost of corruption in Uganda has risen from 9.1 trillion Shillings in 2019 to 20 trillion Shillings annually. Half of this money is lost during procurement processes, under declaration of tax and utility costs among others.
The Inspector General of Government, Beti
Olive Namisango Kamya has announced that she will press ahead with conducting a lifestyle audit on government officials whose wealth does not match their known income.
Kamya's declaration comes four months after Presient Yoweri Museveni cautioned her on the strategy, saying she should go slow as it could scare the corrupt officials from investing the stolen funds in the country and instead take the money abroad.
But Beti Kamya now says that it is very hard to catch the corrupt top
government officials and so she has to pursue the life style audit approach.
"The big fish is slippery," lamented Kamya who was meeting leaders
from local government at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala today.
The public often blames the Inspectorate of Government-IG for hunting down low ranking
government officials engaged in less costly corruption tendencies yet there are
top government officials often referred to as big fish who are corrupt and
cause massive loss to the country.
Kamya says it's hard to find evidence to pin top government officials for
corruption because they operate through lower staff, they don't sign on
documents, sometimes discuss corruption deals from abroad and keep 'their' stolen money in offshore accounts. She says without any footprints left nor tangible evidence, they
are not able to prosecute top government officials engaged in corruption.
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According to a recent survey by the Inspectorate, the cost of corruption in
Uganda has risen from 9.1 trillion Shillings in 2019 to 20 trillion Shillings
annually. Half of this money is lost during procurement processes, under
declaration of tax and utility costs among others. The other 10 trillion
Shillings is lost due to absenteeism of civil servants especially health
workers and teachers.
Kamya says that because it is hard to catch the big fish who engage in big
corruption deals, the Inspectorate has focused its efforts on the lifestyle
audit to nab corrupt officials.
Under the lifestyle audit, the Inspectorate shall, based on officer's
declarations, compare earnings of an official and their investment to see if
they are in tandem.
Kamya says that for an official who earns 2 million shillings to have a huge
investments, they should be able to explain the source of the money. Failure to
do so, Kamya says the property of such officials shall be confiscated and sold to
recover government funds.
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Kamya hence asked LC 5 Chairpersons to help in fighting corruption in their
areas, first by shunning the vice and secondly by reporting corruption. She
says that the inspectorate shall no longer operate from board rooms but in the field,
seeking out culprits and apprehending them.
The president of Uganda Local Government Association Richard Rwabihingizi said
local governments are committed to fighting corruption but are under-facilitated
and less empowered. He says that on top of a small salary, they are not facilitated
to go to the field to monitor different government projects in their
Government promised to give motorcycles to some local government political
officials but only a few districts have received them. Rwabihingizi also says that services
that should be decentralized like procurement, aren’t and hence done by central
government leaving out local governments.
This, Rwabihingizi says affects their ability to fight corruption involved in a
procurement process at a higher level. He adds that contractors, after paying hard
to secure contracts, are too arrogant to listen to local government officials
since they even have godfathers at the higher levels.
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The State Minister for Local Government Victoria Rusoke Businge urged Local
Government Chairpersons to use their offices to fight corruption. She noted
that some of them are the big fish and that they come to her office begging
that Chief Administrative Officers -CAOs in their areas be transferred on
allegations that they are non-performers when actually the main reason is that
they have fallen out due to money deals.
She also asked them to use the available resources to monitor government
projects as government plans to fund and facilitate them better.
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The Inspectorate is involving different stakeholders to ensure that they save
the 20 trillion Shillings lost to corruption annually. There is also a plan to
include anti-corruption studies in the school curriculum such that children are
taught about it at an early age for them to be able to detect, avoid and report