The law seeks to empower court to continue with proceedings against a dead person charged with corruption. In this case the relatives or beneficiaries of the estate of the deceased defendant will be the ones in court. It also suggests a restraining order preventing a suspect from disposing of any of their assets until the case is through.
Justice James Ogoola, the former Principal Judge and Chairperson Judicial Service commission (JSC), has observed the draconian nature of the proposed Anti-corruption (amendment) Bill 2012.
The bill, to be moved by Makindye East MP John Ssimbwa as a private members bill, seeks to introduce a new provision spelling out the enforcement of the confiscating procedures accrued from the offence of corruption.
It will also seek to empower court to continue with proceedings against a dead person charged with corruption. In this case the relatives or beneficiaries of the estate of the deceased defendant will be the ones in court.
The Bill also provides procedures of applying for restraining and charging orders to ensure that a person under investigation for such offences is stopped from disposing property that he/she owns or controls until the case is concluded in order to recover the benefits accrued or the loss incurred.
While giving his views on the bill, Ogoola noted that the suggestion to attach property even for the suspected corrupt officials is draconian urging the MP to be careful on the proposals.
He says although the law should be tough on the corrupt, the current proposal is a big iron hammer to hit the corrupt in this country. Ogoola compared the bill to the post-independence time where those statute books comprised of the tough Preventive detention Act. The chief advocate of the law allowed detention without trial for unspecified period, the late Grace Ibingira, became its very first victim.
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Ogoola was quick to say that he is not against the law saying it needed to be balanced and fair. He warns that lawyers are likely to through this law out before it takes effect if the proposed law it to one extreme.
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Fr. Simon Lokodo says his ministry is interested in the bill . His junior officers are already working towards putting together the bill. The Ministry has got UGX 500m just to prepare the bill before the end of this financial year. Asset recovery bill is the name the ministry is suggesting for the bill.
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Government has lost a lot of money through corruption while the implicated officials illicitly acquire assets. According to the World Bank annual statistics, Uganda loses at least UGX 500b every year through corruption.
Parliament granted MP Simbwa leave in order to prepare and bring the bill to parliament. The MP is conducting consultative meetings on the bill. He says that he is ready to work with relevant parties to ensure the bill is passed.
Simbwa however declined to involve the Ministry of Integrity in the process arguing that time was of the essence here. He noted that if government wanted to propose a bigger law, it would only enhance the current one that is still in the offing.
ogoola: proposed bill on corruption draconian
justice james ogoola
makindye east mp john ssimbwa
anti-corruption (amendment) bill 2012