By Mary Karugaba and Moses Walubiri
A private member's Bill that seeks to strengthen the fight against corruption has been tabled to Parliament for scrutiny.
The Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2012 was tabled on Tuesday by Makindye East MP John Simbwa amidst applause from MPs.
The Bill strengthens part V11 of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 by providing that properties owned or controlled by a person convicted of the offence of corruption or embezzlement or abuse of office; and any property owned by relatives, close associates so long as court is satisfied that the said property was derived from the offence of corruption of is a gift caught by the Act.
The Bill defines a close relative as person who is a parent, brother, sister, spouse (including defacto spouse and ex-spouse) daughter, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grand-parent, or grand-child of that person whether by birth, adoption or marriage.
According to Simbwa, the Bill will give teeth to the existing legislation by making it possible for the state to seize the property, assets and bank accounts of those convicted of corruption.
The Bill seeks to amend certain provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 which have been found to be inadequate and to incorporate new legal provisions aimed at recovering the benefits derived from corruption.
This means, if passed, the law will be the sixth legal framework to fight corruption, embezzlement, abuse of office of office and causing financial loss among other intents.
Simbwa said if enacted into law, it will make corruption a risky venture. It spells out procedures for confiscating benefits derived or accrued from corruption and related crimes.
“Corruption is going to be a very risky venture because once you are convicted, the state will have powers to confiscate your properties and get back the money that was lost under your control,” he said.
Despite the numerous government policies, action plans, strategies, laws and established institutions with elaborate and promising mandates to fight corruption, the practice has continuously increased.
Government loses over sh300b in corruption related cases.