Under-funding Still Hampering Fight Against Corruption - CSOs

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In short
Civil Society Organisations CSOs in Uganda have expressed the need to increase funding towards bodies that spearhead accountability and transparency in service delivery across the country.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Uganda have expressed the need to increase funding towards bodies that spearhead accountability and transparency in service delivery across the country.
The 2017 statistics released by the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) on analysis of government spending to curb corruption in the last five years indicate a funding gap of 221.7 billion Shillings.
The findings were released at the Anti-Corruption Summit organised by the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day due Saturday December 9.
The analysis of funding for the government expenditure in three agencies of Inspectorate of Government, Auditor General, and Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets shows that low funds have impacted expected output.
The study indicates that although the sector's budget excluding treasury operations in normal terms has increased from 507.2 billion in 2012/2013 to 864.7 billion Shillings in 2016/2017, the share of the national budget reduced from 5.2% in 2012/2013 to 4.2% in 2016/2017 financial year.
It is hoped that the national budget share for these agencies is likely to reduce based on the trend to 3.8% in 2017/2018, likely to leave a glaring funding gap of 221.7 billion Shillings.
Analysis of output and expenditure performance in the Inspectorate of Government office in the last five years indicates that of the total of 191 billion allocated, 24.3 billion, or 12.77%, was spent on corruption related accounts which include investigations and operations, prosecution and litigation.
For instance in the 2012/13 financial year, 30.7 billion was approved for the office of the Inspectorate of Government, a total of 412 corruption complaints were investigated and concluded while 58 corruption cases were prosecuted and completed at a cost of 4.5 billion Shillings.
In 2013/14 financial year, over 36 billion was approved and 6.16 billion was used on investigating 565 corruption complaints as well as prosecution of 76 corruption cases.
In the 2014/15 financial year, just over 5.1 billion was spent on investigating 350 corruption cases and prosecution of 69 cases out of the inspectorate's 40.9 billion overall budget.
For the financial year 2015/16, the Inspectorate spent over 4.5 billion on investigating the corruption complaints while nine court cases out of the annual target of 50 were concluded. It also concluded one Judicial Review case out of the annual target of 12.
In the office of the Auditor General, analysis of the output and expenditure reveals that of the 267.2 billion shillings allocated for the financial years 2012/2013 to 2016/17, a total of 146.7 billion, or 54.89% of the the approved budget, was spent on financial audits and value for money audits.
The report from analysis of the output and expenditure performance of the public procurement and disposal of public assets (PPDA) indicates that of the approved budgets to a tune of 51.46 billion, 15.1 billion was spent on procurement audit, monitoring, legal and advisory services.
Jean Bageya, the CSBAG representative says that there are increasing levels of corruption in Uganda's public sector despite government's pursuit of accountability reforms and anti-corruption policy strategies.
"Having an impressive legal and institutional framework in place to enhance accountability and control corruption may not be enough if political factors are ignored," Bageya said.
Bageya says there are other socio-economic gaps that are more resounding which need to be tackled to wipe out corruption. Some of the areas suggested for improvement were public beliefs and attitudes, ensuring good political leadership and accountability, moral improvements in public service among others.
Paul Maxwell Ogentho, the Director Corporate Relations in the Office of the Auditor General, says their offices have continuously released reports but the citizens are taking a behind seat in demanding for accountability.
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Ogentho says almost every year, several audits keep bringing out similar audit queries and findings of unaccounted for funds which means that the recommendations of previous reports are not acted up on.
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The Uganda's Anti-Corruption Coalition Executive Director, Cissy Kagaba, told URN that there is need to continue sensitising citizens on the impact of corruption to service delivery.
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About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

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