Civil Society Organisations have said the failure by President Museveni to appoint a substantive Inspector General of Government is undermining the fight against corruption.
For over a month, the country has been running without an Inspector General of Government (IGG) after the office fell vacant on July 5 when the term of office for Justice Irene Mulyagonja expired and she has since been appointed to the Court of Appeal.
Addressing journalists on Wednesday, ActionAid Uganda Country Director, Xavier Ejoyi said whereas the third National Development Plan (NDP III) identifies corruption as one of the key obstacles to Uganda’s development and the country being ranked as the second most corrupt in the East African region, the situation has not been helped by the absence of a substantive Inspector General of Government.
While the Inspectorate of Government is very central to the fight against corruption by virtue of its special powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute cases involving corruption, the office is poorly resourced and underfunded to carry out its duties. The absence of a substantive Inspector General of Government further compounds the situation, leading to case backlog,” Ejoyi said.
“Consequently, successful prosecution of cases hangs in the balance, such as the most recent one in April 2020 where four top Ugandan Government officials were arrested for inflating Covid-19 relief food prices thereby causing government losses in excess of shs1.9 billion.”
The Civil Society Organisations said the Inspectorate of Government in its current state cannot initiate new charges neither can institute new investigations, apart from continuing with those already in the system.
“This alone is an impediment to Uganda’s anti-corruption fight, especially now that we are headed into the 2021 general elections. Although members of the Leadership Code Tribunal were in July officially sworn in, they cannot effectively do their work without a fully functional Inspectorate of Government,” Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda.
The Civil Society Organisations said that the presence of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Lt.Col. Edith Nakalema cannot substitute the office of the Inspector General of Government.
They said whereas the State House Anti- Corruption Unit is a mere unit, the IGG is a fully constituted office with branches around the country.
“We have many parallel anti –corruption units put in place by the President and the intentions might be good but we think for streamlined fight against corruption, the office of the Inspector General of Government should be reinforced with staff from these units,” Kagaba said.
“However, with the absence of a substantive Inspector General of Government, we think President Museveni is undermining his efforts to fight corruption in Uganda.”