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Confiscated wealth will increase funding to priority sectors

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th July 2015 02:20 PM

I would like to extend congratulations to members of the Ninth Parliament of Uganda for the milestone achievement registered on Tuesday last week when it passed the Anti-corruption amendment Bill.

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I would like to extend congratulations to members of the Ninth Parliament of Uganda for the milestone achievement registered on Tuesday last week when it passed the Anti-corruption amendment Bill.

By Maureen Agaba

I would like to extend congratulations to members of the Ninth Parliament of Uganda for the milestone achievement registered on Tuesday last week when it passed the Anti-corruption amendment Bill.


Indeed this is a historic achievement in the fight against corruption in Uganda, and in fulfilling the original purpose of the Bill, to make corruption a more risky venture to engage in.

The opportunities presented by this new law will go a long way in fast tracking sustainable development for Uganda, and improving the quality of life of Ugandans.

Given that official reports including the World Bank have reported that Uganda loses over 500 billion shillings annually to corruption scandals, with this figure on the increase, the new law is a significant victory for Ugandan taxpayers who have lost colossal sums of money to numerous corruption scams.

Once assented to by the President, the new law will empower the State to confiscate properties and assets of officials convicted of corruption, including their relatives, once proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been acquired illicitly.

As such once courts have proved that assets were acquired through corrupt acts, the state will sell them off within six months and the monies put in the Consolidated Fund. Indeed this will go a long way in providing much needed financial resources to fund shortfalls in budgetary allocations to key priority sectors, and better still, to the parent sector where it was originally stolen from.

Recalling Uganda’s sh23.9 trillion national budget passed last month, amidst widespread objections of insufficient funding allocated to key priority sectors, including agriculture and other vital sectors, monies recovered from confiscated wealth will increase future allocations to these sectors.

This will ultimately led to improved social service delivery both in terms of quality and increased access for citizens. As such the Government’s target of evolving Uganda into a middle income country within the next few years will become a possible reality.

It is equally gratifying that in the new law the net of corruption offenders has been widened to not only cover leaders, but all persons can now also be charged with causing financial loss to a bank, credit institution, a company or a public body or private body. This will serve as a deterrent to all people across the board, who would otherwise harbour intent of engaging in corrupt acts, and also curb endemic impunity of the corrupt in Uganda.

On the other hand, given poor enforcement of Uganda’s numerous anti-corruption laws, it is equally imperative that a conducive environment be put in place to ensure that the new law is able to effectively bite, especially political commitment from the Executive. This among others entails ensuring the independence of the anti-corruption institutions, including the Anti-corruption Court, Inspectorate of Government, Parliament among others, so that they can deliver on their mandates unfettered.

The Government should also increase resource allocation to the Inspectorate of Government, Police CIID, Office of the Auditor General, PPDA, and Courts, in terms of financial, human and technical expertise to enable them execute their respective mandates in the Corruption fight. Short of this these offices will be incapacitated ineffectively executing the Act in its entirety.

In the interim, we call upon His Excellency the President to demonstrate commitment to the national Zero Tolerance to Corruption Policy and anti-corruption related legislations, and urgently assent to this anti-corruption amendment Act as a milestone of raising the accountability bar to another level.

The writer works with Uganda Debt Network
 

Confiscated wealth will increase funding to priority sectors

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