Anti-corruption organizations want more transparency in utilization of COVID Funds

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ACCU ED Cissy Kagaba; File Photo

Civil Society Organizations -Transparency International and Anti-corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) have demanded for more transparency in utilization of funds government is allocating to activities in the fight against COVID-19.

The activists say, while the Ugandan government has mobilized huge amounts of money towards the fight against COVID-19, there is no clear accountability of how the funds have been spent.

In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the activists say while government has realized funds to the tune of UGX. 8 trillion from internal and external sources ever since the pandemic broke out, no information regarding the breakdown of expenditures has been provided, raising fears that the monies may end up lost in corrupt activities.

“There is no clear accountability of how these funds will be spent. The government Procurement Portal is devoid of breakdowns of these funds and there are no plans indicating exactly how these monies will be spent” part of the statement reads.

The statement signed by the Executive director ACCU, Cissy Kagaba and ED Transparency International Uganda, Peter Wandera says the secrecy of the several procurements undertaken by government especially in medical supplies to address the pandemic is also not helping the fight against COVID-19.

The activists questioned the persistent complaints from health workers about insufficient personal protective equipment, yet funds have been allocated for the same. They say, it is ironic to see the numbers front-line health workers who have contracted coronavirus rising.

“This limited transparency regarding the use of funds already disbursed and there are fears that the monies may end up lost through corrupt activities.” it adds.

They want government to first present full accountability of the funds already realized before taking on new financial obligations.

Kagaba says government should come up with a resolution on MPs who spent the 20 million covid funds, and expedite prosecution of all officials implicated in financial mismanagement and abuse of office during COVID-19 pandemic, as well as recover all monies lost where possible.

She said they have received reports showing that despite release of over UGX. 165 millions for District Task-Forces to coordinate COVID-19 interventions, this money has not trickled down to sub-county task-forces as most of it has remained redundant, even in the border districts where their interventions are critical.

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