Equip Igg, Police To Fight Corruption

Equip igg, police to fight corruption
Appeared in The Observeron 04 Mar 2020

The ministry of Local Government and the Lt. Col Edith Nakalema-led State House Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) have launched an all-out war against the corrupt in the ministry.

Over seven district officials have been interdicted and investigated for corruption. The worst impediment to the fight against corrupt is the multiplicity of the enforcement agencies; the Uganda Police, the seldom drafted Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Col. Kaka Bagyenda’s Internal Security Organisation (ISO), the Inspector General of Government and State House’s Anti-Corruption Unit.

Unfortunately, multiple agencies have not diminished the allure of corruption. Why? Some agencies prefer to do their work in the media with little effect. They don the anti-corruption mantle, but their rhetoric and actions don’t mirror their mission.

They make surprise swoops on the corrupt in the full glare of media cameras. Usually, corruption cases have been bungled up for lack of evidence.

Other agencies like ISO either settle personal scores or step in to protect the corrupt from prosecution. The ACU is purely lame. It is not recognized by law nor has it got prosecution powers.

In essence, it is an attack dog from State House. Ultimately when ACU makes arrests, suspects have to be handed to police. And police has to do its own independent investigations. The IGG has the arrest and prosecutorial powers but the inspectorate is so thin on the ground.

The office does not have enough financial and human resource to combat this vice. Employing multiple agencies to do the same job risks turning the war on corruption into a laughable venture.

The fight against corruption should not be hard. It is not hard to track and trace the property of corrupt officials. We need a motivated, well-trained investigative agency to do the job well.

Public officials are holding those offices in trust and on behalf of Ugandans. Instead, they breach the trust by either stealing or diverting public funds to private use.

As a consequence, roads and schools have not been built. Police can trace property owned by these public officials. We have so many public officials who have unexplained wealth, way beyond their known official and declared incomes. Others have taken bribes from multinationals in order to award lucrative tenders.

So, we need to change the laws so that even if the public official takes a bribe and eventually buys property, that asset can be confiscated and returned to the public. We need to touch where it hurts most. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on training a strong anti-corruption agency, and not on creating more agencies to fight the same vice.