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Saturday,November 28,2020 23:16 PM

Anti-Graft crusaders want IGG appointed

By Jeff Andrew Lule

Added 5th September 2020 11:48 AM

They also called for the appointment of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) chairperson to follow up on the human rights abuses during the electoral process.

Anti-Graft crusaders want IGG appointed

Xavier Ejoyi and Cissy Kagaba (Photo by Nancy Nanyonga)

They also called for the appointment of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) chairperson to follow up on the human rights abuses during the electoral process.

As Ugandans go into polls early next year, anti-graft Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) say there is a need to track down the actions of the politicians in order to avoid corruption tendencies.

"We have seen several videos making rounds on social media platforms, showing some politicians carrying money among their electorates. This is against electoral laws and it undermines the quality of democracy," the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), Cissy Kagaba, said.

In their joint press statement read to journalists by Action Aid International Uganda country director Xavier Ejoyi, the group urged President Yoweri Museveni to appoint a substantive Inspector General of Government (IGG) to arrest, investigate and prosecute politicians found bribing voters.

They also called for the appointment of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) chairperson to follow up on the human rights abuses during the electoral process.

UHRC chairperson Med Kaggwa passed on in November last year. The remarks were made yesterday during a joint press briefing at the AAIU offices in Kansanga, a Kampala suburb.

Ejoyi said having no substantial IGG exposes the country to misuse of public funds and abuse of public offices, especially during this period of political campaigns and COVID-19, where the Government is also getting many donations and loans.

The group acknowledged the Government's effort to fight corruption, through the existing strong legal frameworks, institutions and reforms in the management of public funds, among others, but said there remains a loophole without the IGG.

The office of the IGG fell vacant on July 5, this year, after the term of office of Justice Irene Mulyagonja ended. Ejoyi said the third National Development Plan identifies corruption as the key obstacle to Uganda's development. Uganda was ranked the second most corrupt country in the region by the East African Bribery Index 2017, while the Global Corruption Perception Index 2019 placed Uganda in 137th position out of the 180 countries.

According to the Global Financial Integrity Report 2018, Uganda loses at least $1b annually in corruptionrelated tax invasion and money laundering.

Ejoyi said though the Inspectorate of Government is central to the fight against corruption by virtue of its powers to investigate, arrest, and prosecute cases involving corruption, the office remains poorly managed, thus affecting its operations.

He stressed that successful prosecution of cases hangs in balance, such as the most recent one in April, where four top Ugandan Government officials were arrested over allegations of inflating Covid-19 relief food prices, causing government losses in excess of sh1.9b. Kagaba said the Government will be undermining its own efforts if they fail to appoint a substantive IGG.

"The IGG is crucial in this fight as the head. Although members of the Leadership Code Tribunal were officially sworn in, they cannot effectively do their work without a fully functional IG," she added. The group said it was also crucial to appoint the UHRC boss, especially during the election period.

Christine Byiringiro from Uganda Debt Network said the creation of a parallel anti-corruption agency, like the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, is not bad, but also undermines the work of the IG's office.

Lillian Senteza, from Transparency International, said the country is already recording cases of violence, but the UHRC is not fully constituted to effectively handle the cases.

They also called upon the Government to put in place alternative measures to fast track corruption cases, especially those that are under appeal and enforce the anti-corruption legal framework, such as the Whistleblowers Protection Act and the AntiCorruption Act, to enable and encourage citizens to report cases of corruption, without fear.
 

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