By Spy Uganda
According to a paper presentation by State House Anti Corruption Unit head-Col Edith Nakalema to Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) which is said to be the “leading corruption grooming office”, fight against corruption should be everyone’s responsibility.
Nakalema says that it is a responsibility of citizens to extract accountability from public officials with regard to how they have delivered public services.
“Accountability involves an obligation on the part of public officials to report and give reasons for failing to meet stated performance objectives,” she says.
Nakalema in the same vein addressed to OPM staff that public officials must give an account of their decisions or indecision; actions or inactions and submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate for their office and provide accountability all aimed at kicking the bad vice of corruption out of Uganda.
According to Nakalema, it’s only accountability that brings about better service delivery and increases public trust in Ministries, Departments, State Agencies and Local Governments.
”It increases the legitimacy of the State and Government, empowers the citizens with the right information and expected action, ensures that public officials are acting in the interests of the people that they serve and promotes community involvement and participation in governance,” adds Nakalema.
She actually says that it’s via accountability that the nation can see success of democracy, patriotism, Pan-Africanism and social economic development.
Nakalema says she has since learnt that corruption is boosted by the following;
•Political will (Local & Central Gov’t): This hasn’t been sufficient to fight corruption in the country by some leaders.
• lack of trust in public institutions by the public
• Abuse of Power and Authority by public officials while handling corruption cases
• Political patronage and commercialization of Politics(compromises the authority of the voters)
• Legal loopholes and maneuvers which undermine accountability and service delivery
• Corrupt leadership in Public Institutions
• Moral Degeneration
• Resistance from public officials to be held accountable (exploiting the public service guidelines and regulations to their benefit)
But amidst the above, Nakalema and her Unit have registered a huge success ever since she was handed the role by President Museveni. The unit has been able to recover, a total of Ush.30 billion tax payers’ through prosecutions, and other measure used to compel corrupt officials refund embezzled public funds.
Not only that but the Unit has as well managed to get a total of 326 people arraigned in courts of law, to answer corruption related charges. Of these, 40 people have been convicted and sentenced.
In the presentation, it was indicated that the unit has investigated different public servants for graft, including members of parliament, accounting officers, security personnels, directors of several government agencies and commissions.
In addition to the above, the Unit has also ensured the safe return of about 600 Ugandas stranded after being trafficked to Arab countries. It has also conclusively investigated about 10,000 cases and interdicted 200 government workers from public offices.