Activists have warned government against amending the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets(PPDA) Act 2003 to kick the IGG out of the procurement process, a move they said will fuel corruption.
The PPDA Act was amended in 2011 and the PPDA regulations, which became operational in March 2014, were amended in 2013 but government wants to further amend it to ease the procurement process.
The amended act would empower accounting officers to make decisions relating to public procurements and disposal of public assets without necessarily consulting the authority and ease the bidding process.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Anti -Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) Executive Director, Cissy Kagaba said kicking the IGG out of the procurement process would be a suicidal move that would cost government billions of money.
“The IGG’s intervention in government projects is important and health for ensuring transparency and accountability purposes because a lot of government money is stolen during the procurement process,”Kagaba said.
“Blocking the IGG from investigating procurement related corruption is potentially unconstitutional and could expose government to unnecessary litigation.”
The anti-corruption activists cited a number of procurement scandals that have been nipped in the bud including the shs24 billion Kyetume- Katosi road scandal and the shs185 billion ($98.3m) procurement deal for the National Identity Cards.
The activists said despite the new amendments being fueled by several projects which have been halted by the IGG pending investigations, it is only for the benefit of government and saving taxpayers’ money that would be lost to corruption.
Officials from PPDA however say there have been delays in procurement adding that the amended act will make it user friendly and fasten the entire process.
The Anti -Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) also blasted government for putting in place many units meant to fight graft which they said are in turn fuelling it.
“The many units put in place do not necessarily mean help fight corruption but rather a sign that government has failed in the fight against corruption,” Cissy Kagaba said.
Recently, a section of employees at the Inspectorate of Government (IG) petitioned the State House Anti-Corruption Unit calling for an investigation into alleged corruption, illegal and irregular recruitment at the anti-corruption agency.
Commenting on the matter, the activists said there are internal mechanisms through which the matter can be handled other than forwarding it to state house.
“Much as we welcome the unit, it should not be used to compromise or curtail the independence and powers of the IGG. Government should also put in a place a clear legal regime governing the operations of the unit,” said Transparency International Uganda’s Lilian Ssenteza.