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BIG STORY: Over 200 govt officials face IGG probe over graft

Mrs. Beti Kamya, the Inspector General of Government (Photo/File)

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Inspector General of Government (IGG) has commenced investigations into the wealth and lifestyle of at least 200 government officials in civil service.

According to a special report by Daily Monitor, the officials being investigated include those from the IGG’s office, permanent secretaries of various ministries, and principal accountants of the 53 government agencies.

IGG’s spokesperson Ali Munira confirmed the investigations, but declined to reveal names of the officials. She said they would brief the media about the matter next week.

The investigation comes barely two weeks after IGG Beti Kamya told a delegation of the European Union (EU) led by Ambassador Attilio Pacifici that she plans to start lifestyle audit to catch corrupt public officials in the next five years.

The sources said it’s after this declaration that whistleblowers started tipping off the Ombudsman about suspicious wealth and lifestyle of certain officials.

Daily Monitor in its Friday newspaper quoted Ms Kamya as having said recently that she would push for primary school children to recognise illicit wealth at home and ask their parents whether their salary can afford the new expensive cars, luxurious houses and oversees schools and holiday they enjoy.

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“We want teachers in posh schools to give homework to their 10-year-olds in 5th Grade to write down their fathers name, place of work, job title, and car they drive and its cost, a picture of their houses and discuss it openly in class,” she said.

She noted that preliminary findings show that Uganda is losing Shs20 trillion annually to corruption, which totals the country’s annual collection from taxes.

“It is criminal that poor Ugandans break their backs to work and pay taxes, but very few people take it all…” she said.

Chapter 13 of the Constitution mandates the IGG to eliminate corruption, abuse of authority and of public offices by investigating, arrest or cause arrest, prosecute or cause prosecution of culprits.  While addressing officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Kyankwanzi recently, Ms Kamya said the Inspectorate is stuck with at least 4,700 unresolved cases. She said OPM tops the list of corruption complaints.

Ms Kamya also said the new regime at the Inspectorate intends to adopt more of a prevention-than-cure strategy.

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“To achieve this, we intend to co-opt all Ugandans into the war against corruption. We intend to rebrand the war from being an Executive, Parliament, Judiciary, IG, NGOs and anti-corruption agencies’ war.  Like we did with the war against Aids and Covid-19, we should give corruption a face so that everybody can recognise it, despise it, hate it and avoid it,” she said.

Life style audit

According to Transparency International, lifestyle audits also known as lifestyle checks or lifestyle monitoring, are an accountability tool that detect and prevent corruption. Such audits are conducted when the visible lifestyle or standard of living of an individual(s) appears to exceed their known income level.  

The detection of such discrepancies can raise the red flag, warranting closer inspection..

If the audit shows a mismatch between a person’s known income and assets compared to their lifestyle and spending patterns, then there is an increased risk that the person is deriving alternative income from sources that constitute a conflict of interest or illegal activity, including embezzlement and bribery.

The IGG cost of corruption survey 2021

SectorEstimated loss
User fees in public utilitiesShs459.2b
Natural resourcesShs820.0b
Environment degradationShs15,457b
Absenteeism in public sector (Health and Education)Shs2,054.0b
Healthcare and Education provisionShs451.1b
Security ProvisionShs86.1b
Procurement & budgetingShs590.4b

Story adapted from Daily Monitor

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