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David Kalemera: Meet Museveni’s new boy charged with spying on corruption in URA

David Kalemera, Museveni's Senior Presidential Advisor- Head of the State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations unit.

Kampala, (UG):- President Museveni Friday appointed David Kalemera as his new Senior Presidential Advisor and Head of the newly created State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit established to oversee Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) operations and fight corruption within the tax administration system.

The new Unit, which adds to Uganda’s many anti-corruption units highlights the president’s commitment to enhancing transparency and efficiency in tax collection.

“The creation of the unit will help the government close revenue leakages and boost tax collection,” the Presidency wrote in a brief statement released Friday.

The development comes at a time when Museveni is pushing for rationalisation and merging of several government agencies, a move he said would save Uganda more than Shs1trillion every year, while URA collects Shs20 trillion annually compared to Uganda’s national budget which stands at Shs 72 trillion as passed last month.

According to information obtained by this publication, Kalemera, a former employee of URA from 2OO7 to 2016 convicted on charges related to tax fraud and corruption by Anti-Corruption Court judge Lawrence Gidudu in 2022.

In April 21, 2022, the same court convicted him for knowingly using customs conspiring to commit a felony in a corruption-related case.

Posting shortly after his appointment was communicated by government, Kalemera said: “This new role comes with great responsibility.”

“I am committed to overseeing URA Uganda operations and fighting corruption within our tax administration system,” he wrote on X.

He added: “Together, we will work to close revenue leakages and boost tax collection for the betterment of our nation.”

Museveni’s renewed fight against corruption

On June 13, 2024, Museveni announced a renewed fight against corruption as the country struggles with graft which the Ombudsman says costs Uganda over Shs10trillion annually.

Museveni in his previous addresses to the nation has consistently argued that eliminating corruption within the URA could significantly increase tax revenues, potentially funding a larger portion of the national budget. He frequently accused the URA of harbouring corrupt individuals, referring to them as “grasshoppers.”

These long-standing accusations have led to the resignation of several top URA officials over corruption allegations. However, no arrests have been made, raising concerns about the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures within the agency.

The creation of the State House Revenue Intelligence and Strategic Operations Unit is a proactive step towards addressing these concerns.

The unit aims to enforce anti-corruption measures robustly, ensuring that those guilty of corrupt activities are held accountable. This move is expected to build public trust in the government’s efforts to combat corruption and improve the efficiency of tax administration.

Uganda has a State-founded inter-agency forum, whose membership features about 20 government institutions against corruption.

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