Civil society pushes for witness protection in fight against corruption

By Deo Wasswa

Discrediting the work of the state house anti corruption unit has remained one of the major challenges to the unit as it continues to execute it’s mandate of curbing corruption in the country.

The remarks were made by the head of state house anti-Corruption unite Col. Edith Nakalema while giving a keynote speech at the 9th anti-Corruption convention that convened in Kampala.

According to her, once corrupt officials fail to bribe investigators,they resort to discrediting the unit’s work.

She also says the unit has continued to receive complaints from communities of people who go there pretending they are coming from state house anti -Corruption unit and intimidate them.

Nakalema said that as the unit makes two years in existence soon, it has made some tremendous achievements which include, recovering UGX 24.5 billion from cases investigated, 248 culprits have been arrested and arraigned in courts of law, 24 convicted and sentenced among other achievements.

In the same meeting, anti -Corruption activists say the absence of whistle blower’s Fund in the country has continued to affect the fight against corruption.

Peter Wandera, the executive director of Transparency international Uganda says, the absence of this fund to facilitate those willing to report and track the corruption related cases has remained a major challenge.

According to him, with current situation where there is even no witness protection law, it has also continued to to pose risk to lives of whistle blowers.

He says it is high time the government, civil society and anti corruption agencies to think of putting an active an whistle blowers fund to tackle the matter.

The two day convention convened by Action aid Uganda in partnership with anti corruption coalition Uganda, and transparency international Uganda is running under the theme “Promoting social accountability through active citizenry”.

Former Maracha district HR in trouble over double salaries

By Sania Babirye
The anti corruption court has ordered the former Human Resource Officer of Maracha District Local Government to pay a 7.5 million court fine or in default serve three years imprisonment for abuse of Office and conspiracy to commit a felony.

This is after grade One Magistrate Abert Asiimwe found guilty Asizuwa Rogers of deliberately maintaining a 71 year old retired Civil Servant Aya Charles on the pay roll as Assistant Agricultural Officer yet he had transferred his services to NAADS; and the duo defrauded the District of UGX 16.950.500.

Court also uncovered that 71 year old Aya Charles used to draw two salaries from public service contrary to the Law; and out of the 470,000shs he would earn as Assistant Agricultural Officer, he would give Asizuwa a kick back of 200,000shs per month from March/2011 upto January/2014 when they were discovered.

Although Aya refunds the UGX 16.950.500 to Maracha District he will also be required to pay a fine of UGX1.5m or in default serve one year imprisonment. Despite of being remorseful they needed to give a deterrent sentence to the would be offenders in the future.

I will lead by example -Muntu

By Sania Babirye

Alliance for National Transformation party presidential flag bearer Gan.Muntu has promised residents of Kikube that he will wipe out corruption which he says has eaten out Uganda up to the marrow.

Addressing the gathering on Sunday, in Hoima City, Muntu stated that the demarcation will be clear and that those who cross that line will be dealt with.

He has asked Ugandans to have confidence in him saying that he will lead by example.

Today, Muntu and his campaign team will be Kibale, Kagadi and Kakumiro districts.

Meanwhile, Muntu says going to witness the ballots printing as requested by EC to opposition leaders is not important but guarding them when they reach Uganda.

Muntu says that it is more important to protect the ballot papers during packing, while being taken to the polling centers so that illegal ballot papers that are not sent are not added onto the official ballot papers.

Muntu adds that this includes knowing the serial numbers for the said ballot papers sent and how many are sent by all agents.

He there fore disqualifies the witnessing of printing of the ballot printing as an important process and that he would not have gone even if EC had facilitated his travel.

Town clerk remanded

By Sania Babirye

The Principal Township Officer of Kalungu District LG, Ddamba Joel has been a arraigned before the anti corruption court and charged with corruption and abuse of office after selling off government land to a businessman in Masaka district.

Ddamba was arrested the 12th of October by the office of the IGG after being on the run for the last 5 months to answer the charges of abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud.

46 year old Ddamba is charged together with a 49 year old businessman in Masaka district Moses Kalisa with loss of public property, abuse of office, corruption and conspiracy to defraud.

These have pleaded not guilty and remanded to Kitalya government prison until the 29th of this month after they pleaded not guilty to the said offences.

On the 24th of July this year, Buganda road court issued a warrant of arrest for Ddamba to be arraigned before anti corruption court grade one magistrate Ebert Ashimwe to answer to the said charges but to no avail.

Prosecution led by the IGG’s led by Hilda Talibba states that the Ddamba in 2013 while employed as a senior assistant town clerk of Katwe Butego division in Masaka municipality town council by virtue of his office fraudulently disposed off the division land comprised in plot 46-52 Kampala road, land at Mutuba Musisi Garden, Masaka municipality at Uganda shillings 150 million shillings to a one Moses Kalisa without the approval or knowledge of the division/municipal authorities in breach of the procurement laws and guidelines an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interest of his employer.

End.

Kazinda decries continued stay in prison

By Sania Babirye

The former principle accountant in the office if the prime minister Geoffrey Kazinda has informed Anti corruption judge Margret Tubulya that he will not be appearing in court anymore in the trial of his illicit enrichment case until determination.

Kazinda has stated that its unfair and unjust that the Inspectorate of government is using the said case to deny him his freedom yet even the constitutional court dismissed charges against him in relation to the said case.

The frustrated Kazinda says that for the past eight years since he was first charged in 2013, the IGG has failed to complete the said case denying him his right to speedy trial and justice.

And as a result, Kazinda has asked court to continue the case without his intake and deliver judgement.

However, the IGG says the case is its advanced stages and that if Kazinda is frustrated now, he can be given smoke time to rest in Luzira and then be able to attend court for his case.

IGG also says that despite last week’s ruling, court did not clear the said case against him.

This is the second time that court is freeing Kazinda but only to be remanded back for other pending charges.

IGG accuses Kazinda of amassing wealth amounting to 4.6 billion shillings which is not inline with his known income.

According to the IGG, Kazinda’s estimated income as a public servant from 2009 to 2012 was 83.7 million shillings.

The DPP has meanwhile withdraw about 73 charges of corruption Including forgery, causing financial loss and criminal conspiracy among others against Kazinda that had been slapped against him by state after the constitutional court cleared Kazinda on the said charges.

Kazinda has been in Luzira prison since 2013 when he was convicted on unlawfully possessing government stores and sentenced to five years and despite finishing the said sentence he is still held in prison due to pending charges that continue to be brought against him by the state.

By the time of his arrest on illicit enrichment charges, IGG found out that Kazinda had rented Constellation suites in Nakasero and apartments in Kampala for ten months at a cost of 210 million shillings, had a house and land at Kyadondo , Mengo West valued at 3.1bn, cars including BMW,Mercedes Benz, ML class, Dodge Saloon car all valued at 769 million shillings and diverting over 20bn government funds.

Nizeyimana fired over abuse of office

By Sania Babirye

The deputy registrar of the executive and bailiffs division of the high court Deo Nizeyimana has been interdicted for abusing his judicial authority.

According to the interdiction letter written and signed by the chief registrar Tom Chemutai dated 29th june 2020, Nizeyimana has been fired on he orders of the acting chief justice and also deputy chief Justice Alfonse Owinyi Dolo.

In the said letter, Nezeyimana is further accused of producing poor standard of work contrary to the judicial service Regulations and conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the image,dignity and reputation of the service .

Evidence shows that on the 2nd of June 2020,Nizeyimana issued an ex- pate Garnishee order in a case between Total Uganda ltd and O A Basid ltd where the assistant registrar of the same court had issued an interim order of stay of execution in the same matter on the 2nd of October 2019.

Nizeyimana also is said to have issued the said order in defiance of the chief justice’s directives suspending execution proceedings inline with the National Directives to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The said order was also issued without notifying the respondent.

The chief registrar says his Nizeyimana has been forwarded before the judicial service commission for disciplinary action and ordered to hand over with immediate effect all government property’s and court files to the registrar of the high court.

The letter further states that Nizeyimana will be receiving half salary and is bared from leaving Uganda without the permission of the chief registrar.

Anti corruption advocates demand that COVID-19 funding be halted

By Deo Wasswa
Anti-corruption advocates have asked the government to halt funding of the various district Task Forces which are currently coordinating interventions of COVID-19 until they produce full accountability of the previous funds given to them.

According to them an estimated 8 trillion shillings have been realized to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in communities and to also provide food relief and other amenities required, but to their dismay little has been felt on the ground.

They also want the government to publish all received donations, grant and loans and show how they have been used and this information should be published in newspapers or government online platforms.

Currently, 657 corona virus cases have been confirmed in Uganda and 118 have recovered, since the government announced the first case on March 21 2020.

Kagaba demands legal action against implicated URA officials

By Alice Lubwama

The executive director Anti-corruption Coalition Uganda Cissy kagaba has asked government to take legal action against top Uganda Revenue Authority officials alleged to have been involved in financial abuse instead of just resigning.

This is after four top URA commissioners resigned last week for abuse of office.

Kagaba says if implicated these individuals should be apprehended but not just resigning.

The latest information indicates that they allegedly engineered a 195 billion shillings tax waiver in a multi billion deal involving the acquisition of Sadolin paints by Kansai.

Lt.Col. Edith Nakalema asks UCU students to be active in the fight against corruption

By Daudi Zirimala
The Head of the Anti Corruption Unit at State House Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema has urged the students of Uganda Christian University in Mukono Municipality to get deeply involved in the fight against corruption as the vice is a moral and spiritual issue and requires people like them with the right attitude to wipe out the vice from the country.

Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema was delivering a lecture to both students and the staff of Uganda Christian University Mukono on the topic ‘Realizing Public Accountability in Uganda’s Public Service Delivery System-What is our role as Christians’

Nakalema who broadened the scope of corruption in all sectors and not focusing on only the embezzlement, exhaustively told the congregation that was on its daily lunch time assembly the forms of accountability that include among others financial, political, legal, and social accountability adding that all forms and levels of accountability are influenced by individual moral values that stem from the family, institutions, community, religion and government among others.

She informed them that government on its part has put in place interventions to curb corruption but it requires the responsibility and mandate of all Ugandans to combat the evil.

Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, therefore, urged students of Uganda Christian University in particular and all Ugandans to be the light of the world by denouncing corruption quoting from Mathew Chapter 15 verse16 that ‘let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise and glorify the Father in Heaven’.

Mayiga asks Museveni to check government officials in regards to corruption

The Katikiro of Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to focus his new anti-corruption fight on top government officials whom he says have entrenched the vice that is partly responsible for the raging poverty in the country.

Mayiga was addressing the Lukiiko sitting at Bulange Mengo. His statement was in response to President Museveni’s speech during the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party National Delegates’ Conference held over the weekend at Namboole international stadium.

In his speech, Museveni acknowledged that corruption was a big problem for Ugandans but hastened to add that it is easy to stop. He noted that his government had in the past tried to net the corrupt officers citing some in the Prime Minister’s office and others. The President named corruption, theft of government drugs, free education, house-hold incomes, illegal evictions and working on feeder roads as the priority areas on his government.

Now, Mayiga says there is need for the President to bring to book top corrupt government officials who seem to be untouchable. He observed that the NRM government has for the past 34 years devised ways to apprehend the corrupt but Ugandans are yet to be convinced by the results.

He says that for the government to succeed in its corruption fight there is need to net top officials like Ministers. Mayiga said that billions, which would help the country fight poverty among its citizens, are embezzled by the officials.

Ssenoga Kiligwajjo, the Representative of Gomba County in the Lukiiko noted that corruption and theft start from families hence the need for parents to ensure that they dedicate more time to teaching children about corruption tendencies.

A recent Corruption Perception Index, a global report by Transparency International, indicated that Uganda was progressing in the fight against corruption dropping 12 places from 149th position to 137 on a scale of 180 countries.

According to the report, Rwanda remains the least corrupt country in the East African region in position 51 followed by Tanzania in the 96th position with a score of 37 while Kenya and Uganda are tied together.

Burundi at 165 and South Sudan 179 remain the most corrupt countries in the region. To end corruption and restore trust in politics, Transparency International said that there is need to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems.

The global body also recommended governments to reduce the risk of conflict of interest, enforce campaign finance regulations in order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, and strengthen election integrity by preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns.

~From Uganda Radio Network