UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | In 2002, the Ugandan government passed the Inspectorate of Government Act that created an office of the government ombudsman tasked with one role; fighting corruption. However, 19 years on, both the presence and perception of corruption has increased.
Uganda is ranked amongst the 38 most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International. Locally, the Inspector General of Government, Hon Beti Kamya, notes that corruption has become more sophisticated and harder to curb.
According to Hon Kamya, we are loosing a whopping 10 trillion shillings annually through corruption – in other words – nearly a quarter of Uganda’s national budget. However, after a year of work, the IGG has only prosecuted 109 cases and made a recovery of only 618 million shillings.
Therefore, Hon Kamya is bringing these figures to the public’s attention in an effort to recruit the masses of Uganda, who are the victims of corruption, to join the war against it.
Speaking NTV’s On the Spot, Hon Kamya says the public is always crying for IGG to go after the biggest perpetrators of corruption – ‘the big fish’.
“The people say give us the big fish, they tired of us giving us them Mukene (Luganda for silver fish). However, the problem is these big fish are so good at covering their tracks,” she explains, “These corrupt individuals usually operate through proxies.”
“You will not find a corrupt person signing somewhere, you will not catch them red-handed receiving money from anywhere. So then you identify them, and take them to court, and the judge wants you to prove [the corruption] beyond a reasonable doubt. And therefore, case after case collapses in court,” she says.
Hon Kamya adds that the corrupt are even using the proceeds of their corruption to fight and win the court cases.
As such, Hon Kamya’s regime is focusing on the ‘Lifestyle Audit,’ to catch the corrupt, and is appealing for the public’s help.
“If you are a public employee earning two to three million shillings, yet you are living in a mansion, driving an expensive car, and sending your children abroad for school, now I can ask you to account for that lifestyle – that’s what we call a Lifestyle Audit,” she explains.
“If we see you living beyond your known sources of income, then the burden shifts on you to prove how you earned that money,” she adds.
Hon Kamya goes on to explain that most of the proceeds of corruption goes into real estate, with the construction industry being the fastest growing sector in the country at 12% annual growth. And while some may think that money diverted to building a house isn’t so bad because the money stays in the economy and is directed to buying materials like cement, and hiring masons, builders, etc., that money is diverted away from priorities and into unplanned growth.
“We know that most of the corruption money goes into the construction industry, but it should go toward planned development, planned so that it benefits everybody, and not just the few,” she says.
To give the public the picture of what the 10 trillion shillings lost to corruption can do for a population, Hon Kamya uses the Parish Development Model as an example.
“We have approximately ten thousand parishes in Uganda. And if you save that USh 10 trillion and divide it into parishes, each parish can easily get USh 1 billion a year. Now think of what your local parish could do with USh 1 billion per year, every year for five years. Year one – if you put that USh 1 billion into the parish SACCO for people to borrow for their business, for their houses, school fees for children – their lives would be transformed. In year two, that USh 1 billion would be enough to buy a laptop for every single student,” she explains.
“Communities need to be aware they are the victims of corruption – the public needs to understand that the corrupt are not stealing from government, they are stealing from them, the people”.
Hon Kamya therefore implores the people of Uganda to start focusing on and questioning their neighbour’s lifestyles, and to help the Ugandan government in the fight against corruption.
“This is your war. NRM is providing you with an enabling environment by making the laws, making the jails, making recruitment of judges and chief justices, and judicial officers, for you to fight corruption,” she says.
The public is able to report cases of public sector corruption through the IGG Website, HERE. Per the website, information supplied will be treated with confidentiality; the IGG Office shall not disclose the identities of any individuals who report cases to them.
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