Government has said anti-corruption agencies recovered Shs31.82bn from corrupt individuals in 2021.
The revelation was made by State Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Rose Lilly Akello, State Minister of Ethics and Integrity while issuing a statement to commemorate the Anti-Corruption Day during Tuesday’s plenary sitting.
The Minister said that Uganda has a number of Anti-Corruption Agencies like Inspectorate of Government, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Financial Intelligence Authority, State House Anti-Corruption Unit that have a number of recoveries.
“The achievements of these Anti-Corruption Agencies are many like the recovery of funds with the Inspector General of Government alone recovering over Shs2bn for a period since December 2020. This was money recovered through administrative actions and it by far exceeds the IG annual target of Shs1.5Bn,” said Minister Akello.
She added that IGG also recovered Shs700m through court orders, while the DPP is said to have recovered US$34,000 approximately Shs121.525Mn.
Additionally, State House Anti-Corruption Unit investigated 10,000 cases valued at Shs287Bn. She said the other agencies recovered Shs29bn.
However, the development comes at the time the Fourth National Integrity Survey 2019 revealed that Uganda loses Shs20 trillion annually to corruption related vices.
Reacting to the revelation, Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda called for an interrogation on why the recovery is still lower than the money lost.
“There is still a challenge on the amount that is lost vis-as-vie the recovery, so you can’t talk of billions when we are losing trillions. They will talk about court process taking long, but remember our asset regime isn’t that strong and we don’t have a process where people’s property is attached as proceeds, as the case is going on. That means that a person can easily dispose of the property,”she said.
Kagaba also faulted the 10th Parliament for weakening the fight against corruption when they removed the clause in the Leadership Code Act, that required spouses and children of public leaders to declare their wealth, saying this disabled some of the provisions in the law that would lead to recovery.
Theodore Ssekikuubo (Lwemiyaga County) while reacting to the Minister’s statement, described it as worrying the trend on the rates of corruption.
He wondered why the IGG isn’t making use of forms filled by leaders under the Leadership Code Act, saying if the information is used properly, it would be pointer to corruption cases because the forms require details of a leader’s incomes and source of the income.
“You said that since December 2020, IGG has recovered Shs2Bn yet the amounts being siphoned are in trillions. You say State House is investigating cases valued at Shs287Bn but you don’t show what recovery are being done.State House Anti-Corruption has rendered IGG a lame dark. It is making IGG work so irrelevant,” he said.
He questioned Government’s commitment towards fighting corruption when the people meant to prosecute the corrupt like State Attorneys and Prosecutors are paid peanuts.
Ssekikuubo also tasked the Minister to provide an audit report on what the country achieved after President Museveni led the Anti-Corruption walk.
Simon Peter Okwalinga (Kanyum County) called for rigorous approach towards fighting corruption remarking, “I want to propose that let the assets declare the owners. The IGG should announce we shall be on Kampala road all owners must be there with documents on how they acquired them. Even the bank accounts, they should explain their source of funds.”
Dorcus Acen (Alebtong DWR) tasked Government to table a report on what the country has achieved when it ratified treaties on Anti-Corruption.
Minister Akello said Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate the Anti-Corruption Day on 9th December 2021 with events to be held at Kololo Independence Grounds and this year’s celebrations will be towards highlighting the rights and responsibilities f everyone in the fight against corruption through active citizen participation.
Jane Pacuto (DWR Pakwach) said that for Uganda to curb corruption, approach to audit must change and the focus be directed towards auditing projects in terms of performance.
She also called for the famous lifestyle audit and said it has to start with Parliament, “We must begin to audit lifestyles of Ugandans. You can’t be earning Shs200,000 and taking your child to an international school in Dheli, you can’t be earning Shs20m in parliament living life beyond an ordinary American.”
The Leader of Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga informed Minister Akello that the fight against corruption shouldn’t be made complex, but rather do basic things that can make the corrupt rethink their corruption model.
Mpuuga asked the Minister to call off the Kololo airstrip and donate money to victims of corruption that are littered around the country.
“That function in Kololo, the corrupt will come and mock you, they will come and sneer at you. You need money to do your job, go and make request, how I wish your money came in supplementary budget, instead, the supplementary was riddled in corruption tendencies,” he said.