Send A Thief To Catch Another? President Museveni Appoints Tax Defaulter David Kalemera To Lead New Anti-Corruption Unit At URA

Send A Thief To Catch Another? President Museveni Appoints Tax Defaulter David Kalemera To Lead New Anti-Corruption Unit At URA

By Spy Uganda

 Kampala: President Yoweri Museveni has appointed David Kalemera as a Senior Presidential Advisor and Head of the newly created State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit to fight corruption and the malpractices within Uganda Revenue Authority(URA).

The development was confirmed by the Presidential Press Unit in a statement noting that the newly created unit will help the government to close revenue leakages and boost tax collection.

Statement From Presidential Press Unit.

“The Presidential Press Unit wishes to inform the general public that the President has created the State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit to do an oversight on Uganda Revenue Authority operations and fight corruption within the tax administration system, President Press Unit said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Kalemera, extended his gratitude to H.E. President Museveni for the new appointment noting that he is committed to overseeing URA operations and fighting corruption within the tax administration system.

”I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to H.E Kaguta Museveni for his trust and confidence in me. I also want to thank all of you for your continued support and encouragement. Let’s move forward together towards a more transparent and prosperous Uganda. Together, we will work to close revenue leakages and boost tax collection for the betterment of our nation” Kalemera said in a statement.

Is President Museveni Sending Thief To Cath Another?

For starters, Kalemera who was previously convicted of tax fraud and corruption, has now been appointed to fight against the very crimes he was found guilty of.

In 2022, Anti-Corruption Court judge Lawrence Gidudu convicted Kalemera of using falsified customs documents and conspiring to commit a felony, revealing a significant corruption scandal with in URA’s tax administration system. This conviction later led to his dismissal from URA.

Kalemera, alongside Ssemanda Ian Paul and Kazibwe Ronald, faced multiple charges, including knowingly using falsified commercial invoices and packing lists to clear goods through URA’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA).

The fraudulent documents, allegedly issued by Guangzhou Sen Mao Development Limited, a shipping company that does not issue commercial invoices were used to declare fewer goods than were actually shipped, aiming to reduce the taxable amount and defraud the government of substantial revenue.

Despite these serious charges and his subsequent conviction, Kalemera has been appointed to head the newly established Unit by President Museveni, already raising concerns about the effectiveness of this very Unit.

Hard Battle Against Corruption

Uganda’s battle against corruption has seen the establishment of several specialized units aimed at tackling graft within different government agencies including the State House Anti-Corruption Unit led by Brig. Gen.Henry Isoke, the State House Investors Protection Unit headed by Col. Edith Nakalema, and the State House Health Monitoring Unit headed by Dr. Warren Namanya.

Each unit has been tasked with specific mandates to curb corruption, protect investments, and monitor healthcare services, respectively. These units have had varying degrees of success and face significant challenges in delivering their mandates.

The Anti-Corruption Unit under Brig. Gen Isoke has been instrumental in investigating and prosecuting several high-profile corruption cases, contributing to an increased public awareness and fear of repercussions among potential offenders.

However, critics argue that the unit’s effectiveness is hampered by systemic corruption within other branches of government, including the judiciary, which can slow down or impede the prosecution process.

Additionally, despite the unit’s high-profile arrests and media coverage, the overall perception of corruption in Uganda remains high and therefore needs broader institutional reforms beyond the capabilities of the unit.

Col. Nakalema’s State House Investor Protection Unit has focused on safeguarding the interests of investors against bureaucratic inefficiencies and corruption. While this unit has been praised for swiftly addressing investors’ complaints and improving the investment climate, its impact is often seen as limited to specific high-profile cases rather than systemic change.

On the other hand, Dr. Namanya’s State House Health Monitoring Unit has exposed significant fraud and malpractice within the health sector, leading to the suspension and prosecution of several officials. However, the deep-rooted issues in Uganda’s healthcare system, such as inadequate funding and infrastructure, mean that the unit’s efforts, while impactful, are insufficient to bring about comprehensive improvements.

Given the challenges faced by the already existing Units House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Units, State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit’s potential impact lies in its ability to complement these efforts by targeting corruption at the source and that is revenue generation and allocation.

The effectiveness of these units highlights both their successes and the broader, ongoing challenges of eradicating corruption in Uganda.

Let’s watch the space as we wait to see what the newest addition to the specialized units mandate is likely to entail. an accessible web community

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