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Activists call for amendment of Anti-corruption Act

By Nelson Kiva

Added 25th September 2020 05:13 PM

Kagaba added that the size of the fines imposed under the Act should also be increased.

Activists call for amendment of Anti-corruption Act

L-R Peter Wandera, Executive Director Transparency International Uganda, Cisy Kagaba, Team leader Anti-Corruption Coalition and Xavier Ejoyi, Country Director Action Aid Uganda during the meeting. Photo by Ivan Kabuye

Kagaba added that the size of the fines imposed under the Act should also be increased.

The anti-corruption activists have asked government to a mend the Anti-Corruption Act 2009 to among others adopt non-conviction based asset recovery regime.

According to Dr. Dan Ngabirano from Makerere University School of Law, conviction based asset recovery imposes an unrealistic and unreasonably high degree of proof on the prosecution and makes it difficult to recover property obtained using proceeds of corruption.

Ngabirano made the remarks while presenting a draft report on the assessment of the status of implementation of the Act at a breakfast meeting organized by the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda at Hotel Africana Kampala Thursday (September 24, 2020).

"Recovery should be permitted where the prosecution is able to prove that there is a very likelihood that the assets in question were acquired using proceeds of corruption," he said.

The executive director of ACCU, Cisy Kagaba, said that various times asserts acquired through corruption are identified but are disposed-off through the trial process.

"So we want a situation whereby if government can ascertain that these assets were acquired through corruption proceeds they should be attached such that by the time the case is done, they are merely selling-off those assets," she said.

Kagaba added that the size of the fines imposed under the Act should also be increased.

"This will make corruption less appealing and ensure that the law is sufficiently deterrent," she said.

"So as long as the fines are still very low, corruption will not be made a risk business," Kagaba added.

Dr. Ngabirano had earlier suggested that the fines imposed under the law should range from twice to about ten times value of the corruption benefit obtained.

The Act into effect on August 25, 2009 and at the time of passing it, the law on corruption in Uganda was scattered in different pieces of legislation.

They included the Prevention of Corruption Act, 121, the Penal Code Act cap 120 (as amended) and the Leadership Code Act, 2002.

The Anti-Corruption Act repealed the Prevention of Corruption Act in its entirely and amended certain provisions of the other two laws.

The activists also urged government to urgently introduce a comprehensive witness protection legal and institutional framework for the enhanced protection of witnesses and informers in the context of investigation and prosecution of anti-corruption cases.

The framework they said should also incorporate a satisfactory reward mechanism for informers and witnesses.

The Transparency International Uganda executive director, Peter Wandera, in his submission urged President Yoweri Museveni to urgently appoint a substantive Inspector General of Government (IGG) to ensure that the Inspectorate of Government is fully constituted as required by the law.

The Constitutional Court of Uganda recently decided that the special powers vested in the Inspectorate to investigate and prosecute corruption can only be legally exercised if it is fully constituted.

In the event where the Inspectorate of Government is not fully constituted, it has no legal capacity to effectively prosecute corruption cases.

The director legal affairs at the Inspectorate of Government, Sarah Birungi, insisted; "We need to work as a team to win the war against corruption."

She explained that all corruption related charges being taken to court in absence of the substantive IGG, were being consented on by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).


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