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Gov't Anti-Corruption Agencies Launch Collaboration Platform to Fight Graft

The government through the agencies is set to implement a lifestyle audit program that will be used to track the wealth of individuals, who will then have the task of explaining the sources of their wealth.
30 Nov 2021 10:24

Audio 6

The government has asked all religious faiths in Uganda to dedicate services to pray and preach against corruption.

The anti-corruption agencies in a joint statement have, through the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, asked all worship places to mold their messages around the prevalence of corruption in Uganda, the pain of corruption and its cost to the country, and who the victims are.  The day is being commemorated under the theme: Promoting Acting Citizen Participation in Social Accountability.

The Inspector-General of Government Betty Kamya says for as long as the high prevalence levels of corruption in Uganda are sustained, Ugandans will never get adequate service delivery.

She says that her emphasis on victims is because many ordinary Ugandans are indifferent about corruption because they are not aware that it affects them, as others benefit from it.

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Government agencies and international transparency reports estimate that Uganda loses about 1 Trillion Shillings annually, which is 5% of the domestic revenue collections.  It would also be enough to give each sub-county in Uganda 1 Billion Shillings.

Public sector agencies have been named by corruption perception indices as top perpetrators of the evil, including judiciary, police, public services, land administration, tax, and procurement.

The latest Corruption Perception Survey issued by Transparency International in January this year places Uganda in 142nd out of 179 countries, having declined by one place the previous year.

The high prevalence of corruption has defied the many state agencies that include the Inspectorate of Government, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, the Financial Intelligence Authority, the Department of Ethics and Integrity, the Auditor General, the Police Criminal Investigations Directorate, the Internal Security Organization, Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority.

Among the events include the public mobilization strategy that will see all local councils from the village to the district hold council sessions and organize public events about corruption, according to Kamya.

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The government through the agencies is set to implement a lifestyle audit program that will be used to track the wealth of individuals, who will then have the task of explaining the sources of their wealth.

This is in response to the failure by the state to successfully prosecute high-ranking government officials who are implicated in corruption.

Kamya says this has been a headache and the public is usually compelled to believe that senior officials and others with connections to state agencies are protected from the law.

But Kamya says the failure comes from the highly complicated methods used by this category of corrupt people making the difficult to arrest and prosecute.  It is expected that the Lifestyle Audit due to be launched next month will answer this dilemma.

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The Auditor General’s office which will take a leading role in the lifestyle audit says the program gives a bigger role to the citizens to play because the information will be key.

Paul Maxwell Ogentho, Director, Technical Services says it is easy for even an ordinary person to detect corruption through analyzing the lifestyle of a person, especially whom they are close to.

Ogentho, says that with collaboration among the state agencies, it will be easy for them to track lost funds, but adds that citizens are vital as sources of information.

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The lifestyle audit program also provides a basis for the state to recover the stolen assets. Col Edith Nakalema says this is important because it will then make corruption expensive.

Currently, Nakalema says, the available punishments can never be adequate because the culprits usually go back to enjoy their illicit wealth even after serving their sentences.   

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The agencies also say that this approach will help solve the issue of lack of enough resources since there will be closer collaboration between them and also with the media and civil society.

The Executive Director at the PPDA, Benson Turamye says that next year a process will be launched to digitize all the 407 government procurement agencies and this will limit physical interaction between the public officer and the bidding service provider.

But he says the collaboration with the citizens will still be vital.

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