The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Beti Kamya Turwomwe, has said her office is critically underfunded and therefore lacks capacity to undertake key operations to curb the escalating levels of corruption in Uganda.
Kamya, who assumed the office of the IGG a few months ago, says since the establishment of the IG, its activities have mainly centered on receiving complaints from whistleblowers, investigate, prosecute, convict, incarcerate and recovery of loot, but the reality is that only a small percentage of corruption cases gets detected or even gets to the level of being investigated at all.
Kamya made the remarks on Monday during an engagement with the Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, following her appointment and approval by parliament as the new IGG. She said, government has consistently failed to address “issues which are crucial to the performance of the IG” leaving that responsibility to donors.
According to the UGX54BN budget allocation for the IG in the financial year 2021/2022, only UGX2.3BN (6%) has been allocated towards operational costs while 94% will go to staff costs including salaries, allowances, among others.
“Rt Hon Speaker, the IG is well staffed with directors, managers, supervisors, investigators, prosecutors, vehicles, drivers, equipment plus other administrative and support machinery to effectively fight corruption… but MoFPED did not allocate and parliament did not appropriate funds for the core business of the IG leaving that responsibility to donors.” Kamya said.
Beti Kamya also presented findings of the IG National Integrity Survey (NIS) Report which shows that Uganda loses an estimated UGX20TN annually through corruption. The report shows that UGX15TN is lost through environmental degradation, UGX2TN in absenteeism in public sector, while UGX820BN is lost in natural resources.
She cited key activities under the IGG’s office like investigations, prosecutions, recovery of assets and education which have been ignored, leaving corruption and maladministration to grow by the year.
According to the East African Regional Corruption Perception Index and Ranking, Uganda was ranked 142nd among 180 countries in 2020, 137/180 in 2019, 149/180 in 2018 and 151/180 in 2017.
Kamya also accused parliament for neglecting this concern of critical funding to the IG as the matter has been consistently -for the last four years, addressed to the house but nothing has been done as thieves continue to steal public funds. She also asked Oulanyah to allow her team to meet the parliamentary Commission and Chairpersons of committees, for a one-on-one, on alleged cases of corruption in parliament.
Beti presented “a new strategy” in the war against corruption in which “the new regime will focus on the prevention other than cure.” Under this, Kamya says the IG intends to co-opt all Ugandans into the war against corruption by exposing the face of corruption so that everybody can recognize it.
“We will incite Ugandans to despise it (corruption), hate it, and avoid it. We want to exhibit the face of corruption in every classroom, every living room, every place of worship, every place of entertainment and every bedroom, so that everybody can recognize it.” She said.
Kamya however applauded Oulanyah for the active role he has played over the years in setting the stage and participating in the war against corruption in Uganda.
A known strong activist against corruption, Oulanyah lauded the efforts and passion IGG Kamya considering the high levels of impunity in the country. Oulanyah decried the high levels of the moral fabric of the country which has been eroded to the extent that a Ugandans are received with suspicion wherever they go.
“You have my full support as Jacob and whatever you think I can do, I will do. Please help us not to reach that level where travelers are ‘detained’ at Airports and their stomachs x-rayed. You are the engine for the moral rebranding” Oulanyah said.