The Uganda Law Society (ULS) wants State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema disbanded and all its functions retained by the office of the IGG which has the Constitutional mandate to fight corruption.
The lawyers’ position is part of the recommendations in the ULS Rule of Law report for the year 2021, which provides an assessment on the overall state of the Rule of Law in Uganda, with focus on transparency and accountability, human rights abuse among others.
In this quarterly report, lawyers contend that if the Office of the IGG which is duly mandated to fight graft is properly equipped and trusted to fight corruption, and political interference into it’s operations is stopped, there is no need for the Nakalema Unit.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit was created by President Yoweri Museveni in 2018 to effectively work and assist the already existing anti corruption agencies including the IGG, Office of the Auditor General, Anti corruption Court, PPDA, Uganda Police among others.
However, ULS says the office of the IGG should be equipped and president Museveni should desist from utterances that appear to encourage corrupt tendencies as well as allow all suspects, whether they are his trusted ministers in cabinet or loyalists, to be subjected to the law.
At the launch of the report in Kampala today, ULS applauded the lifestyle audit campaign recently introduced by the IGG Hon Beti Kamya, which they say has proved to be an effective tool in combatting and eliminating corruption among public officers.
During events to commemorate the Anti-corruption Day, Museveni warned Beti Kamya to “go slow” on lifestyle audits on corrupt government officials lest she scares them to invest their loot abroad. The president said that the lifestyle audit is good, but Kamya has to be careful because government is still lucky that the corrupt officials invest their money in the country.
The lawyers argue that lifestyle audits have been adopted by several countries including South Africa and has been effective in overall monitoring and screening purposes to red flag areas of concern warranting further investigation.
The ULS lawyers also recommended that the institutions with mandate to fight corruption stop using the law to witch hunt political opponents or fight workplace battles or power struggles but focus on genuine cases of corruption.
The Acting Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Hon Wilson Mululi Mukasa who was the Chief Guest at the launch said the State House Anti Corruption Unit was purposely created to deal with corrupt powerful government officials who did not respect the IGG’s office.
The report notes that there is need for increased advocacy in Uganda, transparency in allocation of budgets for government projects, and government commitment to implement decisions and recommendations by parliamentary committees like PAC and COSASE.
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