By David Lumu
Police is to engage an independent body to probe reports that the institution is the most corrupt in the country.
Okoth Ochola, the deputy Inspector General of Police told journalists Thursday that the services of the body will help eliminate public misnomers and perceptions that the force is the most corrupt in East Africa.
This development comes after the East African Bribery Index 2013 conducted in the five East African Community member states — Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania — ranked the Ugandan police as the most corrupt institution.
“We have resolved as police to engage an independent body to undertake for us a survey on those allegations of corruption in order to avoid these perceptions,” Ochola said Thursday during a press conference at Naguru, the headquarters of police.
Ochola said that the conclusion by the Transparency International 2013 bribery index report that the Ugandan police is the most corrupt in the region ‘is not acceptable’ and that it was based on “perception” and not solid research and assessment.
“We have found it pertinent to put to some things right. Although it is not in dispute that bribery exists in police, the report should be thorough in terms of methodology and literature review. What they have done is to do random surveys of a few individuals and then compile a report on the perceptions of these people,” he said.
Ochola said that after the 2012 bribery index report that ranked police highly on corruption, police called Transparency International for a meeting. But they refused.
“Now, they have released another report without our involvement. Transparency International is not serious. What criteria did they use? Who did they interview? Their report is more of a posture than substance. It is meant to justify donor-funding,” he said.
After the 2012 report, police constituted two teams — the standing committee chaired by Ochola, which is tasked to analyze reports on bribery and corruption in police and the task team chaired by Samuel Kyamukama, the commandant of the Special Investigations Unit.
Ochola says that aim of these teams is to fight corruption and also detect bribe takers within the force and that these teams are supplemented by the Professional Standards Unit.
“Fighting corruption must be a protracted struggle. It is in fact an understatement to note that these continuous findings by Transparency International are based on mere perceptions of random samples that are not scientifically based,” he said.
Kyamukama said that the figures on corruption and bribery have been on a decline.
“In 2009 - 208 cases, 2010-155 cases, 2011-93 cases, 2012-97 cases and 2013-49 cases of bribery and corruption were recorded,” he said.
Edward Ochom, the director of police research said that the bad thing with perception is that ‘people don’t differentiate between a court bail and police bond. They see a person out on a court bail and they think that it is police that has released this person because of corruption.’
The Transparency International report that was released on October 23 in Bujumbura (Burundi)
Side bar of report findings
Bribery likelihood rate: Uganda (26.8%), Tanzania (12.9%), Kenya (7.9%), Rwanda (4.4%) and Burundi (18.6%).
Corruption by sector in Uganda: Police (1), local governments (2), Land services (3), Judiciary (4) and Licensing services (5).
Most performing sectors in Uganda: Education and utility sectors.
Level of corruption: Uganda (82%), Tanzania (67%), Kenya (64%), Burundi (60%) and Rwanda (20%).