Inside The Igg'S Shs56B Budget

Inside the igg's shs56b budget
Appeared in The Daily Monitoron 01 Feb 2019

Kampala. Ministry of Finance officials have allocated Shs56.3b to the Inspectorate of Government (IG) to investigate complaints, fight corruption and enforce the Leadership Code.

The proposed IGG budget to Parliament, however, includes the wage, non-wage and development funding with a shortfall of Shs3.3b.

In the 2019/20 Budget Framework Paper (BFP) to the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, IGG Justice Irene Mulyagonja, described the Shs56.3b allocated to the inspectorate as “insufficient”.

The IGG budget represents 5.5 per cent of the Shs1 trillion allocation to entire accountability sector. The IGG explained that if the funding gap of at least Shs3.3b is not fixed, the shortfall will affect fight against corruption in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), and Local Governments, among others.

The anti-corruption agency had proposed an additional budget funding of Shs5.417b but has only been allocated Shs2.113b.

Affected

The affected priority areas are regional offices, inland travel for investigations, verifications and prosecutions; vehicle maintenance; and, fuel and lubricants.

The IGG is currently verifying assets of top 100 Bank of Uganda Officials. The Inspectorate is also separately verifying assets of Ms Justine Bagyenda, the former Bank of Uganda director for banks supervision.

The Financial Intelligence Authority investigated Ms Bagyenda last year and sent their report to IGG for further investigations.

Since last year, the IGG has been investigating Ms Bagyenda over accusations of accumulating illicit wealth.

On February 20, 2018, a whistleblower petitioned the IGG to investigate Ms Bagyenda, referring to different assets, and the billions of shillings she allegedly held in two bank accounts in Kampala.

The IGG has come under pressure as critics raise concerns over the duration of the investigations. The inspectorate now says verifications and prosecutions remain unfunded in the new budget. It is, however, not clear whether the funding gap will affect the on-going verification of leaders assets.

Budget priorities

Talking about the 2019/20 priorities, the IGG spokesperson, Ms Munira Ali, said: “The IGG’s office continues to work with a small budget as it has always been made clear in the reports submitted to Parliament. Despite the funding gaps, our office has quite a number of areas to spend the money allocated.”

The BFP document indicates that the Shs56.3b will be spent on at least 10 priority areas. These priorities are Scaling up the recovery of illicitly acquired wealth as a deterrent to corrupt practices; rolling out the Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption intervention; Strengthen Regional Offices through capacity building trainings and provision of resources to enable; investigating of corruption and Ombudsman cases reported; and, Prosecuting suspects in high profile and ordinary corruption cases in Courts of Law. Others are providing case resolution support through arbitration, mediation, counseling and referrals to other relevant, competent administrative bodies; designing and implementing of joint anti-corruption efforts; supporting MDAs and Local Governments in dealing with complaints; Verifying declarations submitted by leaders and investigate breaches of the code; and, developing and implementing a complaint management system with a modern call centre.

The IGG has cited five challenges that affect her role in the implementation of the mandate. These are; inadequate operational funds; understaffing; low rate of implementation of IG recommendations; prevalence and complexity of corruption in the public and private sector; and, delays in the judicial process.

The IGG pointed at the ever increasing number of districts, municipalities, town councils and Sub-counties which makes it difficult for five technical officers manning each of the 16 regional offices to do the anti-corruption and ombudsman work.

“The growth in the number of administrative units implies additional work since cost centers, number of leaders and complaints reported have increased. The capacity of the IG to handle corruption and ombudsman complaints has not commensurately changed to match with the increasing workload” the IGG stated in the budget framework paper.

Ms Munira told Daily Monitor on Wednesday that, the IGG’s office now needs at least 30 more officers to serve in the regional offices because the number of leaders to be regulated by the leadership code increases with the new administrative units. This would require an additional Shs4b on the budget to facilitate the new staff.

As a way of handling the persistent challenges of rent where payments are made in US dollars; the increasing cost of fuel, and budget cuts, the IGG has suggested to government to allocate at least Shs30b in the FY 2019/20 to support the construction head offices and provide additional funding to cater for rising overhead costs and fluctuating exchange rates.