CSOs Renew Call For Govt To Name, Shame Corrupt Officials

1813 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Civil Society Organisations in Uganda are asking government to name and shame the public servants whom they consider incompetent and corrupt.

Civil Society Organisations in Uganda are asking government to name and shame the public servants whom they consider incompetent and corrupt.
 
In a joint press statement to the media, the civil society Organisations including Uganda Debt Network and the Civil Society Budget advocacy group raise concern over what they call the escalating level of plunder of government resources by public servants. They say this is ‘pre-meditated actions’ by some elements in the public service.
 
The group says government should amend the Anti-corruption law and include a clause for recovery of lost public funds from the corrupt officials in order for the 2013/14 budget to run effectively and smoothly.
 
According to the Auditor General’s report, in the 2011/12 budget, over 260 billion shillings was reported to have suffered mischarged expenditure which means the money was spent on the wrong budget codes or used for projects it was not meant for. The money mischarged, according to the report accounts for close to 81% of the Budget. This, the civil society says is caused by elements in the public service who need to be booted.
 
The Ugandan anti-corruption law currently does not have a recovery clause for public funds that are lost. The penalties for corrupt officials declared by courts of law are imprisonment and fines. A more recent conviction was in June when a principal accountant in the office of the Prime Minister Geoffrey Kazinda was sentenced to five years in jail over corruption related offences.
 
The name and shame idea has been mooted over the years but never implemented. Professor Mwambutsya Ndebesa from Makerere University says the government commitment to fight corruption and misuse of public funds is not yet at the required level. He adds that Government tops the budget indiscipline list and thus an internal mechanism to name and shame the corrupt public servants should take effect.
 
State Minister for Planning Matia Kasaija, however, says the problem of corruption is deep-rooted in all Ugandans and to use the name-and-shame mechanism would require shaming all the people in the country which is hard. He argued that government will continue to rely on the set systems to curb corruption but ideas are welcome. Kasaija said government efforts are increasing by the day. He cited the recent development of uploading all budget information onto a website for the public to follow as one of the various mechanisms.
 
The World Bank estimates that Uganda loses up to 500 billion shillings to corruption annually.