By Mary Asujo
The Opposition legislators in Uganda’s parliament have advised Police authority to interest itself in corruption cases that are settled out of court.
The Shadow minister of Information and Anti-Corruption, Hon. Joyce Bagala accompanied by fellow MPs told the media at a press conference that What can be settled out of court is the amount of money to be recovered, but not criminal liability under the Anti- Corruption Act and penal code Act.
The MPs were responding to the report by the Inspector General of Government, Ms Beti Kamya which indicated that the entity recovered 7.99BN between January 2022 to June 2023, despite Uganda losing Shs10Trillion annually to corruption. The report by the IGG also indicated that 43 culprits were convicted out of the 92 prosecutions concluded.
The Opposition MPs expressed concern at what they termed poor performance of IGG in fight against corruption saying the dismal performance was not worth reporting about. Bagala noted that in the 2023/2024 national budget, the Inspectorate of Gov’t was allocated Shs86.470Bn yet the entity only managed to recover Shs7.9Bn out of the Shs38Bn recommended for recovery.
“This is a very minute fraction of monies recoverable. And we think this isn’t something to report about. I find that the outcome of the IG not commensurate the funds allocated to their office. That is trivial performance registered. We the IG is tasked to roll-up the sleeves in enhanced and expedited investigations, prosecutions and conviction of the corrupt,” Ms Bagala said.
The opposition MPs also asked the IGG to publish the list of the public officials who are accused of corruption and those who have returned monies stolen. The legislators also called for punitive measures instituted against such public officers by emphasizing the need for attendant punishment meted out to corrupt officials even when there is out of court settlement.
“We urge Police to interest itself in corruption cases that are settled out of court because this amounts to an admission of corruption. What can be settled out of court is the amount of money to be recovered, but not criminal liability under the Anti-Corruption Act and Penal Code Act.” Bagala said.
Mukono North MP, Hon. Abdallah Kiwanuka warned the IGG against creating a special portal for soldiers to declare their wealth under the supervision of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence as advised by the president, saying that the IGG will have abdicated the Constitution and statutory duty.
“We advise to stick to her mandate and should not accept because doing is will give us ground to sue her and those involved. Under the Leadership Code Act, all officers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces of or above the rank of Major and officers in charge of the payroll are leaders who are mandated to declare their wealth and liabilities,” said Kiwanuka.