SAM PAUL NAKHAIMA
The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is set to embark on lifestyle audit for some of its staff members who have accumulated unreasonable wealth in the shortest period of time yet they cannot explain how they have accumulated it.
Dr Protazio Begumisa (pictured above), the URA commissioner Internal Audit and Compliance told The Nile Post that so far five staff members have been profiled and listed for a lifestyle audit which must be concluded by the end of this financial year.
“We have finished profiling five (5) staff members and very soon we will begin investigating them especially those who we believe have more assets than they should be having.
This will be done by the end of this financial year and a report about them will be available to the public”, Dr Begumisa told us on the sidelines of the East African Revenue Authority Integrity Forum hosted in Kampala.
However, the investigations, Begumisa said will be very expensive because they need some sophistication.
The EU has committed Shs 600 million the audit.
The authority’s decision to carry out a lifestyle audit among its staff members follows a close engagement with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) management which confirmed that a lifestyle audit has become a serious deterrent to public officials who bore corruption intentions.
Githi Mburu the commissioner intelligence and strategic operation at the Kenya Revenue Authority who said the political wing had expressed a lot of determination to deal with corruption in Kenya.
“Between January and July this year, 89 cases have been handling of which 63 public officials have been terminated from their duties as investigations still go on. A number of others are battling corruption cases in court,” he said.
Dr Begumisa emphasised that move does not necessarily mean that the tax authority is battling with corruption cases but rather that there is need to hold some officials accountable for what they own and in so doing, a message will be sent across the public that those trusted with public offices should not mismanage public resources for their selfish interests.
“The motivation to acquire property is a big component of corruption and therefore recovering this property can discourage many more who have such intentions. The concept can then be borrowed and applied by other government institutions”, Dr Begumisa said.
To do this, the commissioner hopes to rely on the whistles blowers within the public who he has promised full protection with the support of other government agencies.
Those with any information regarding the unclear acquisition of property by any URA official have been encouraged to call or write to the URA commissioner internal and compliance, or even walk to his office and share information.
The government legal machinery has equally been called on to support the exercise.