Government has turned to citizens to help in the fight against corruption which is taking toll on the country as part of a new campaign strategy.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday ahead of the International Anti-Corruption day set to be held on December, 9, The Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity Rose Akello Lilly said it is high time Ugandans participated directly in the fight against the vice.
She noted that to this, government is launching a new strategy that will see citizens participate in the fight directly.
“The objective is to make the war against corruption a people’s war rather than a government war. In this campaign, citizens are being empowered through mass mobilization and education to take ownership of this war by demanding better service delivery from duty bearers,” Akello said.
Minister Akello said as part of the new strategy, government is to carry out a national schools anti-corruption challenge , anti-corruption caravans in all districts to facilitate engagements with members of the public and make spot checks on service delivery.
Shs10 trillion lost per year
The Inspectorate of Government, Beti Kamya said unless citizens take part in the war against corruption, it can never be won.
“The war against corruption can be equated to the Russia-Ukraine war. Because the Russian citizens were not involved in the war, Russia seems to have lost it. On the other side, Ukraine citizens were directly involved in the war and that’s why we see that Ukraine seems to have won it. We have to ensure citizens participate in the war against corruption,”Kamya said.
She noted that Uganda loses huge over shs10 trillion to corruption every year, noting that it is high time this changes.
“A study was done commissioned by the IGG to establish possible loss of funds and it was establish Uganda could be losing over shs10 trillion per year in corruption.”
“The money is lost mainly through non and under declaration of taxes, non-declaration and under declaration of utility user fees, absenteeism from work, inflated payrolls with ghost workers and service consumers like students and teachers. Almost every payroll in school and hospitals have these ghosts,”Kamya said.
She mentioned inflated pricing, purchasing of “air”, botched procurement processes, grossly under valuing of mineral resources as other forms through which government loses money to corruption.
Kamya said that the new strategy of involving the public will greatly help in ensuring the ombudsman and other government agencies involved in the fight against corruption are notified to take action.
“Now that we this information, the next thing is working our strategies to handle this over corruption. Corruption will not go away tomorrow because it is as old as humanity but what we have decided is that the new thing is to involve the public in the war against corruption. Whereas in the past the public were mere observers and commentators, our focus now to see they join the war against corruption.”
According to the ombudsman, for the public to fully participate, they must understand that they are victims of corruption.
The State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Rose Lilly Akello said since 2020, they have registered several successes in the fight against corruption.
She mentioned that the IGG has investigated 26 high profile cases and directed the recovery of ssh30 billion, 86 cases prosecuted and 34 convictions secured whereas the Auditor General has made audits which has led to recovery of shs175 billion.
The minister noted that the Criminal Investigations Directorate of the police has registered 318 cases and through prosecutions, shs615 billion has been recovered.
The State House Anti Corruption Unit according to the minister has recovered shs35.5 billion including shs8.6 billion from inflated Covid relief food prices , shs3.6 billion from inflated compensation of Bukasa inland port affect persons and shs2.9 billion worth of drugs which had been stolen from Joint Medical Stores.
During the period, the Internal Security Organisation has established a directorate of anti-corruption to particularly investigate the various sector and together with the State House Anti Corruption Unit has carried out investigations into mismanagement of UPE capitation grants in 69 districts, investigations into shoddy work in 117 seed secondary schools funded by the World Bank among others.