Introduced in 1992, the Leadership Code Act last amended in 2017 by parliament sets limits on the financial behavior of public servants, require leaders to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities and put in place enforcement mechanism and other matters.
The Inspectorate of Government (IG) has called for the immediate
enactment of the Leadership Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
According to the Deputy Inspector General of Government (IGG) George
Bamugemereire, parliament needs to fast track the piece of legislation before
the declaration period of March 2021.
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Introduced in 1992, the Leadership Code Act that was last amended in 2017 by
parliament sets limits on the financial behaviour of public servants, require
leaders to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities and put in place
enforcement mechanism and other matters.
Under the proposed new legislation, a leader shall be taken to have an interest
where an income or asset is owned or developed by the leader, jointly owned or
developed by the leader with another person, is acquired or developed by the
leader for another person and others. The others are when the income or asset
is held in trust by the leader for another person or is contained in a joint
account for the benefit of the leader and another person.
Also proposed is to increase the period within which the Inspectorate of
Government may undertake verification of a declaration from 60 days to 90days,
empower the Leadership Code Tribunal to hear appeals from any person whose
application to access a declaration has been rejected by the Inspectorate,
extend the jurisdiction of the Leadership Code Tribunal to complaints made by
any person aggrieved by a decision of the Inspectorate and others.
According to government, one of the defects in the Leadership Code (Amendment)
Act passed by Parliament in 2017 is that it refers to a leader having an
interest in a property and also refers to proof of ownership of the declared
assets which two provisions are just requirements and not breaches yet. The two
provisions under the current law attract dismissal from office.
While presenting the bi-annual IG performance report to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga
on Thursday, Bamugemereire said that the absence of the Leadership Code
(Amendment) Bill, 2020 has made it impossible for the recently appointed
Leadership Code Tribunal to commence hearings.
“The Bill is currently at Committee stage but if it is not passed in time, the
Leadership Code Tribunal will not have jurisdiction to deal with the
declarations which are due to be submitted in March 2021,” said Bamugemereire.
He emphasized that the Leadership Code Tribunal is sitting idle
since their work depends entirely on the Bill. On 25th July 2020, President
Yoweri Museveni swore in the new members of the Tribunal and these are the
Chairperson Dr Roselyn Irene Karugonjo Ssegawa, the Deputy Asuman Kiyingi and
other members Jane Arume, Didas Bakunzi Mufasha and Joyce Nalunga Birimumaaso.
This tribunal was appointed by the President acting on the advice of the
Judiciary Service Commission and with approval of Parliament.
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Besides the amendment seeking to harmonize breaches with the corresponding
sanctions, Bamugemereire said that they will also need another amendment to
deal with cases of public conduct of public officers. He says that such cases
can be dealt with by the Tribunal rather than running to courts of law.
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Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that she would task the Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs Committee to fast track the Leadership Code (Amendment) Bill so that it
is passed by the end of February.
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Jacob Oboth, the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Chairperson said
that his committee has also received a letter from the Minister of State for
Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo and that they would be able to fast track