The Head of Public Service, Lucy Nakyobe who was the keynote speaker, said there was a lot of corruption in public service that needs to be checked. She said district service commissions recruit unqualified people who present forged academic documents.
District Service Commissions and
anti-corruption agencies on Wednesday traded accusations over their failure to ensure corruption-free service
delivery. This was during the Anti-Corruption
stakeholders conference for service commissions held at Hotel Africana under the
theme “Strengthening Partnerships in the War against Corruption”.
Over 50 district service commission chairpersons,
heads of anti-corruption agencies such as the State House Anti-corruption Unit, State House Health Monitoring Unit, State House Investors Protection Unit, Financial
Intelligence Authority, the Inspectorate of Government, the Leadership Tribunal,
the Crimes Investigations Department of Police among others met to discuss
corruption in service commissions.
Corruption during recruitment stood
out during discussions with the commissions being accused of recruiting people
with fake academic documents, demanding for bribes from applicants, recruiting
relatives, and stalling recruitment processes in favor of their relatives. The Head of Public Service, Lucy
Nakyobe who was the keynote speaker, said there was a lot of corruption
in public service that needs to be checked. She said district service
commissions recruit unqualified people who present forged academic documents.
“We know people who passed through
your systems with Nasser Road certificates. Some of them are holding big
officers,” said Nakyobe. She accused the commissions of letting Permanent
Secretaries and Executive Directors of agencies take over the role of
recruitment, which in itself is a form of corruption. She said the Executive
Directors and Permanent Secretaries keep recommending people for recruitment
and district commissions, without questioning, the go-ahead to recruit them denying the rest of Ugandans a chance to compete for the jobs.
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According to Article 165 of the 1995
Constitution of Uganda, one should be of high moral character and proven integrity
to qualify as a member of a service commission. However, Nakyobe says the commissions
have often failed to exercise their mandate with the needed integrity.
they have even failed to advise the president when he makes appointments. Article
172 of the Constitution mandates the president to make appointments with the advice
of the public service. However, Nakyobe says that the commissions treat every
recommendation from the president as a done appointment instead of vetting the proposed
persons and offering genuine advice to the president.
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The Inspector of General of Government
Beti Kamya said the Inspectorate receives several complaints against people recruited
by the public service after presenting fake documents. She warned that if the recruitment
process is flawed, the wrong people who are unqualified for the job shall
occupy public offices and fail to deliver quality services to the people.
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Meanwhile, the district service
commissions rose to their defense giving reasons why the situation has been
reported as such. Some accused officials of the anti-corruption agencies of
being corrupt themselves, failing to investigate cases to completion, exposing
whistleblowers, and lack of political will among others.
The Lira district service commission
chairperson, who also doubles as the chairperson of all district service commission
chairpersons, Reverand James Awany denied that corruption has infested the commissions,
saying, there could be a few rotten apples. He added that oftentimes, propagators
of corruption are not commissioners but other public service officials and
politicians who use the commissions’ names.
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Herbert Otim, chairperson of the district
service commission for Kapilabyong narrated a recent scenario during the
recruitment of Parish Chiefs in the district. He says that the records assistant
collected money from applicants telling them that he was doing so on behalf of the
chairperson and assured them of jobs. When the victims didn’t get jobs, they reached
out to Otim and that’s when it was found that the records assistant has fleeced
them. He says an investigation was instituted amidst sabotage from different civil
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Nite Agio, the chairperson Arua City
Service Commission said many times the commissions are used as scapegoats for
the corruption that occurs in public services, especially during recruitment. Similarly,
Ruth Watuwa, the district service commissioner for Namisindwa district noted that
they have no authority to verify the certificate presented to them, review the terms of officials, or supervise the recruited officials to ensure quality
service delivery. She says department heads should exercise their mandate to appraise
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The deputy Inspector General of government
Ann Twinomugisha Muhiirwe responded to the queries raised by the commissioners,
largely dismissing their concerns as excuses. He asked district commissioners
to make a self-audit before they dismissed the evaluations made by other agencies.
She said while there could be a few cases where the IG has exposed whistleblowers,
it's often the people themselves who expose themselves. She says some write a
letter and copy in people they are whistle-blowing against while others self-record
video clips and circulate them without concealing their identity.
Muhiirwe further insisted that there
was a lot of corruption tendencies in the district service commissions and that
the officials should appreciate the challenge and deal with it rather than
dismiss it. She said many do not convene meetings saying they lack meeting
allowances and others hide behind poor remuneration to abscond from their
duties. She urged all commissioners to develop an attitude that seeks to serve their
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According to the Inspectorate of Government,
Uganda loses over ten trillion shillings to corruption annually. The state
minister for Public Service, Grace Mary also pointed to corruption in districts
where jobs are advertised even when the recruitment process is on halt, just to
give district service commissions and other public servants a chance to extort
money from desperate job-seeking Ugandans.
She reiterated the need for
collective efforts to fight the vice she says cripples service delivery and development
of the country. Internationally, the Anti-Corruption
Day is marked every 9th of December. Wednesday’s conference was one
of the activities organized by the IG ahead of the day of Anti-Corruption Day on