About corruption: We all know that rampant corruption obstructs development and hinders attainment of both global and national development goals. For the case of Uganda, failure to attain lower middle income status by 2020 which is the goal set out in the second National Development Plan. Corruption further defies and undermines fundamental human rights, institutions and the belief in the systems that have been created.
The Executive Director Media Centre
The Members of the Press On 28th November, activities to commemorate international anti-corruption day was launched by the 2nd deputy prime Minister. The International Anticorruption Day which falls on 9th December every year marks the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2003.
The day is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of corruption and reminding citizens about their responsibility in the fight against it. ACA also review their successes and failures and inform the public about the strategies that they intend to employ during the ensuing year.
The Inspectorate of Government in partnership with the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, Office of the Auditor General and Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority, have been in a partnership since 2014.
A syndicate was formed to fight the most deleterious emerging form of corruption which is a form of grand corruption popularly referred to as syndicate corruption. This year the agencies have organized activities under the theme "Restoring Integrity in Civil Service; Regaining Public Trust in the Anti-Corruption Fight."
The theme emphasizes the need to curb corruption by educating civil servants about its effects and ensuring that maladministration, which if not dealt with results into impunity and ultimately corruption is dealt with seriously.
As part of the efforts to restore integrity and public confidence in the public institutions, the agencies organized meetings with Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments to discover and discuss mechanisms that they have put in place to address corruption in their institutions. IG, OAG, PPDA, DEI and URA also made spot checks at the weigh bridges, police stations and a prison. We shared information and continued to seek support from public officers in combating corruption in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. We also visited the districts of Kalungu, Masaka, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Ibanda, Fort Portal and Mubende.
Barazas were held to canvass support of citizens and seek their views about the levels of corruption in service delivery.
About corruption: We all know that rampant corruption obstructs development and hinders attainment of both global and national development goals. For the case of Uganda, failure to attain lower middle income status by 2020 which is the goal set out in the second National Development Plan.
Corruption further defies and undermines fundamental human rights, institutions and the belief in the systems that have been created. In an environment where corruption prevails, public resources are redirected to the pockets of the corrupted few individuals which deepens inequality by diverting money sorely needed for health care, education and other essential services. Corruption affects the poor since they are the ones most in need of the public goods and services, but cannot afford to pay bribes in order to access them.
It is for this reason that this year's campaign targeted the institutions of government that are meant to serve citizens by providing basic services which are affected by corruption when it continues to show up in processes of delivery of these crucial services.
Board room sessions with:
· Ministry of Finance & Economic Development including several institutions in the Accountability Sector
· Ministry of Health
· Ministry of Works and Transport and allied institutions
In these institutions, we focused on mechanisms that have been put in place to fight corruption from within. We found that the following institutions have made commendable efforts to fight corruption: BOU, URA, NWSC
Ibanda district council informed the team that they have mechanisms in place to prevent absentieesm among public servants; registers of attendance analysis of which may lead errant officers to be removed from the payroll or suspended.
Today we receive the team which was led by me to carry out a road campaign, which was flagged off on 28th November 2017 when we launched the activities for the Anti-Corruption Week.
While on the road, the team participated in the following activities:
a) Spot check of Lukaya weigh bridge in Kalungu District
b) Public dialogue (Baraza) at Lukaya Town Council
c) Spot check on Lyantonde Police Station in Lyantonde District
d) Public dialogue (Baraza) in Lyantonde market
e) Boardroom session with Lyantonde District leadership and Technical team
f) Radio talk show in Mbarara District
g) Public dialogue (Baraza) at Rwebikona in Mbarara Municipality
h) Spot check on construction of USMID roads in Mbarara Municipality
i) Spot check at Kiburara Prison in Ibanda District
j) Boardroom session with Ibanda District leadership and technical team
k) Public dialogue (Baraza) with the community in Ibanda Town
l) Radio talk show in Fort Portal
m) Public dialogue (Baraza) with the community in Fort Portal Town
n) Spot check at Mpanga Market in Fort Portal
o) Public dialogue (Baraza) at Mayors Gardens in Mubende
Some Issues from the meetings with the Ministries and Up country interactions and events
a) The public has knowledge about corruption, its forms, how it manifests and some of the institutions where to report. They applauded the Anti-Corruption Agencies for reaching out to them and seeking their views and participation, which they viewed as a sign of increased government commitment to eliminate corruption.
b) The Police is mandated to enforce laws, protect the community and their property and respond promptly to their complaints. The Police reported that it is insufficiently facilitated to carry out its responsibilities. For example, Lyantonde Police Station stated that it is allocated 300 liters of fuel monthly to conduct operations and respond to complaints in the community. This allocation is not sufficient and has compelled the police to solicit additional funds from the complainants to facilitate the operations. This is viewed by complainants as corruption.
It was further observed that the management of police bonds in the same area is considered to be poor by the public. It was further alleged that suspects are tortured while in detention while others are detained for a long time without being produced in court. The community also alleged that they frequently offer bribes to the police to access services.
c) During the spot check of the Weigh Bridge at Lukaya Town Council the team was info informed that UNRA has mechanisms in place to address corruption at the bridge. The penalty lists are displayed on the public notice board, providing a contact number for reporting corruption. The team acknowledged this as a good practice to promote transparency. However, further discussion with the community established that they lack knowledge about the reason the Government put Weigh Bridges in place.
d) During the Public dialogue in Mubende District, the community reported delayed compensation for land acquisition by UNRA which they perceived to be one of the forms of because it may result in the giving of bribes to speed up the processes.
e) The team was also informed about a case of land grabbing where land belonging to Lusalira Health Centre III was curved off by the sub county and district leadership for the construction of a petro station.
Inspection of the Allister and Alice Nyabongo Road in Mbarara Municipality funded under the USMIID, a World Bank Project established that commendable work has been done. However, the project is behind schedule by one year with some defects such as broken pavers, drainage openings in several areas allowing garbage and plastic to flow into the drainage system. The team recommended that the contractor fixes the defects before commencing with further works.
f) During the spot check at Mpanga Market, the venders alleged that allocation of market stalls was tainted, with most of strategically located stalls being taken up by the district leadership and technocrats; some of t he stalls still remain un occupied.
In addition, the temporary market which was established for resettlement of the vendors during the construction of the main market is still operational and it is alleged that it is run privately by district officials there by depriving government of revenue. It was also noted that the land on which the temporary market sits is meant to be a taxi park; continues existence of the market therefore means that the public is deprived of land for the designated park resulting in taxis operating on the streets.
g) The Resident District Commissioners observed that while the oversight institutions issue reports and provide them with copies, they have no power to enforce implementation of recommendations in the reports. IG and PPDA committed to ensuring continued follow-up to ensure that the recommendations in the reports are implemented.
h) The spot check on Kiburara Prison in Ibanda District established that it was established in 1968 to instill modern agro-practices in order to rehabilitate convicts. The prison houses only male inmates. Its main activity is production of grain for supply to other prisons in order to save on government funds used in feeding prisoners.
There is also cattle, goat and sheep rearing on the farm. The team was informed that the prison has an annual target of planting 1200 acres of maize grain split between two seasons in a year. It was observed that the management of the prison emphasizes this target yet they should be more focused on the yield obtained per acreage.
The team also observed some gaps in the accountability processes for the produce on the farm and resources allocated for the payment of prisoners allowances which remain paltry, with casual laborers being paid UGX100 only per day. While the processes are not entirely transparent, there is also need for government to review the rates of allowances paid to prisoners for their labour.
The team interacted with the inmates in order to get a sense of their treatment in the prison. Inmates reported that they were congested in the dorms and that food was limited in spite of the work load. They also reported frequent stock-outs of medicines at the health facility. Further that in an all-male prison, the medical personnel at the prison health facility are all female making it difficult for the inmates to openly discuss intimate health issues.
i) Access to medical services still remains a challenge in all areas visited. During the dialogues, the community reported paying bribes to access medical services. One participant stated that bribes quicken the process of accessing medical services.
j) Whereas the community recognized that they are being asked to participate in the fight against corruption, they have observed a trend where corrupt government officials are arrested and immediately released. This trend discourages citizens from active involvement in the fight against corruption.
k) During the Baraza in Lyantonde district it was reported that the UPE capitalization grant is very small given the enrolment levels; participants also reported that release of the funds is inconsistent with varying un explained quarterly allocations and often delays to remit the funds to schools. The team observed that these practices lead to what appears to be corruption by head teachers when the request parents to contribute to some activities carried out in primary schools.
Corruption still remains a major challenge to our country given its ever changing face, involvement of a wide network both within and outside the Country. It' is therefore important for us all to take a collective stand against this poisonous social, political and economic disease that affects our country.
I acknowledge and thank the efforts of the Ministries, Departments, agencies and local government that have put in place internal mechanisms to fight corruption. As institutions that fight corruption, we will share these best practices with MDALGs as we continue efforts to restore integrity and public confidence in the public offices. As a country, it is important for us to achieve an equitable, inclusive and prosperous future for all citizens and to foster a culture of transparency, accountability and rule of law.
Ladies and Gentlemen as I conclude, the Anti-Corruption Agencies through the existing collaboration will continue to engage all stakeholders at the various levels to demand for corruption free services and report corruption. It is our vision to see an accountable and responsive public sector that will meet our ultimate goal of ensuring distributive and administrative justice for all Ugandans.
We thank Government of the Kingdom of Denmark, GIZ, DIFID, UNDP, the World Bank and all other development partners that support our programs and initiatives.
For God and my Country