By Our Reporter
Residents and stakeholders in Kampala, Wakiso District and Mbale City lodged the highest number of alleged corruption cases with the Inspector of Government (IG), according to the Ombudsman’s latest report covering the period from July – December, 2021.
Releasing the biannual report yesterday, the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, revealed: “The institution most complained about [during the reporting period] was the district administrations, with 293 complaints followed by police with 41 complaints”.
Both institutions topped in the IGG’s preceding ranking for the period January to June 2021, showing no change in behaviour of local governments, which are frontline service providers to ordinary citizens, and the law enforcement agency.
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For instance, 293 complaints were filed against local government within six months to December 2021, slightly lower than the 312 cases lodged between January-June of the same year. In both instances, the local governments topped the corruption list.
By contrast, complaints against Force personnel, who are mandated by the Constitution to keep law and order and fight crime, rose to 41 in the latest report compared to 35 in the previous six months. Force Spokesman Fred Enanga said he would only provide a formal rejoinder after receiving and reading a copy of the report.
The surprise guest on the corruption list, at number five after Education ministry and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), is Uganda Prison Services and its Spokesman Frank Baine said he was constrained to comment on a report he had not yet seen or read.
“I will have to read the report [and] then respond … how do I respond to what I have not read? I don’t know what is there,” he told this this publication, adding: “I don’t know how they (Inspectorate of Government) came to that conclusion; so, I need to have a look at it and understand what they mean. Otherwise, I would be speculating and not telling the truth.”
Mr Jameson Karemani, the spokesman of Judiciary, ranked at number seven, sandwiched between universities/tertiary institutions and Lands ministry, said: “I need to first look at the report you are talking about because I don’t want to take it [report outcome] from a third person”.
“Until I have seen the report myself, I can’t have a comment because I am just hearing it from you,” he added.
Other unfavourably mentioned institutions, include municipal and town councils as well as private organisations.
Yesterday’s report titled, Inspectorate of Government Biannual Performance Report to Parliament July-December, 2021, chronicles Uganda’s most and least corrupt districts, government ministries departments and agencies.
The IGG reported that it registered 761 new complaints, 455 at the head office in Kampala and 306 lodged at 16 regional offices, between July-December 2021.
IGG Kamya yesterday formally handed the findings over to Speaker of Parliament Anita Among to inform House action in fighting graft.
Corruption remains widespread in Uganda, according to back-to-back rankings by the IGG and other anti-graft bodies, despite a plethora of state agencies assembled to fight the vice.
Prominent among these are Uganda Police Force and Judiciary, both adversely named in the latest report, as well as the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and State House Anti-Corruption Unit.
The institutions’ works are supposed to be reinforcing, but insiders say rivalry for the spotlight has led to infighting and backstabbing made worse by political interference, which combined are derailing official onslaught on thieves in government.
The IGG reported that it received 165 and 36 complaints in Kampala and Wakiso, respectively, Uganda’s most urbanised and populated areas, between July-December, 2021 compared to 20 in Buikwe, Mbale (18) and Masaka City (17).
The report was not all gloom for all. For instance, Kibuku, Kazo, Otuke, Namutumba, Sembabule, Mitooma, Gomba, Napak and Buvuma, with a single complaint in six month, were ranked the least corrupt. Others in this category are Manafwa, Kaberamaido, Nebbi, Omoro, Terego and Ibanda.
The IGG named Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Uganda High Commission- Kenya, Uganda Air Cargo Corporation and State House among the least corrupt.
Up to 118 complainants elected to remain anonymous, the Ombudsman reported, suggesting palpable fear among the public.
Disaggregated by gender, 532 men filed corruption complaints, nearly six-fold more than women. Groups put in 14 complaints.
“Out of the complaints registered, 212 were sanctioned for investigation, 17 were referred to other institutions for appropriate handling and 20 were rejected for various reasons while 512 were pending decisions of the IGG,” the report stated in part.
Due to the low conviction rates – three in every 10 cases – IGG Kamya noted that “the new management [at the Inspectorate] has prioritised plea bargain and out of court settlement”.
She reported that they had recommended recovery of Shs1.5 billion pilfered funds, ordered forfeiture of assets worth Shs4.5b while money already recovered from the thieves grossed Shs2.3b.