Features

Corruption Could Break Government’s Back

order http://cccnt.com.au/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/common/src/deprecated/tribe__events__settings_tab.php geneva; color: #222222; font-size: small;”>Over Shs63bn earmarked for pensioners was allegedly swindled by officials at the Ministry in connivance with Cairo Bank staff.

click geneva; color: #222222; font-size: small;”>Following intensive investigations and the evidences that police have so far gathered since the commencement of this probe in the pension scam, cheap it was decided to put a caveat on all properties and freeze all bank accounts of the suspects in this fraud.

She named the suspects as Christopher Obey, David Oloka, Steven lwanga and Isaac Ssentongo of Cairo Bank and the companies as Continental Financial International Limited, Leads Insurance Company Limited, Kagera Rice and Kagera Gaming and Swift Commercial Establishment.

However, it appears government has realized that to unearth the rot at the Ministry, there is need for a massive overhaul and fresh forensic investigation.

According to Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo, the Auditor General “will take further forensic audit on mismanagement of public funds in other relevant Government institutions such as Ministry of Public Service in addition to the one in the Office of the Prime Minister.”

Lokodo adds that in view of the finding of the forensic audit report from Office of Auditor General, measures to address this financial impropriety in government and restore confidence in the system has been instituted.

He says government has put in place measures in the control of donor disbursements within Bank of Uganda and Treasury, adding, all flows will first be remitted to the Consolidated Fund Appropriation Account before the funds are transmitted to beneficiary accounts, instead of Suspense Accounts.

Government shall ensure that all dormant project accounts in Bank of Uganda are closed based on the Memorandum of Understanding between Bank of Uganda and the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Finance will also install hardware to control the use of generic passwords for sensitive roles in the operation of IFMIS.

Internal Audit will oversee and enforce strict inspection of this role to avoid abuse in the future.

“Government has put in place measures to ensure that the process of bank reconciliations between Accountant Generals Office and Bank of Uganda is improved,” says Lokodo, adding, “Statements from Bank of Uganda will henceforth be submitted directly to the Accountant General who will be responsible for their reconciliation on monthly basis.”

Accordingly all Accounting Officers will be required to make reconciliation and submit reports on monthly basis.

Government has also directed the Ministry of Public Service to reconcile and clean up the salary and pension payroll to remove all the “ghosts”

Government shall ensure that the pension and salary payrolls are migrated to IPPS by December 2012 to eliminate diversion of funds away from the intended beneficiaries

Government shall ensure more vigorous enforcement of the policy of regular rotation of staff particularly those involved in the direct management of Government resources such as Accountants, Procurement Officers etc.

Devastating effects of corruption

Political effects

Lokodo admits that in political sphere, corruption impedes democracy and the rule of law.

In a democratic system, public institutions and offices may lose their legitimacy when they misuse their power for private interest.

Corruption may also result in negative consequences such as encoring cynicism and reducing interest of political participation, political instability, reducing political competition, reducing the transparency of political decision making, distorting political development and sustaining political activity based on patronage, clientelism and money.

In our society, the impact of corruption is often manifested through political intolerance, problems of accountability and transparency to the public, low level of democratic culture, principles of consultation and participation dialogue among others.

Economic effects

The economic effects of corruption can be categorized as minor and major. However, both in one way or the other have serious impact on the individual community and country. Corruption leads to the depletion of national wealth.

It is often responsible for increased costs of goods and services, the funneling of scarce public resources to uneconomic high profile projects at the expense of the much needed projects such as schools, hospitals and roads, or the supply of potable water, diversion and misallocation of resources, conversion of public wealth to private and personal property, inflation, imbalanced economic development, weakling work ethics and professionalism, hindrance of the development of fair in market structures and unhealthy competition there by deterring competition.

Large scale corruption hurts the economy and impoverishes entire population.

Social effects

In Social sphere, corruption discourages people to work together for the common good. Frustration and general apathy among the public result in a weak civil society. Demanding and paying bribes becomes the tradition.

Kazinda’s hotel like Mansion in Bukoto

It also results in social inequality and widened gap between the rich and poor, civil strive, increased poverty and lack of basic needs like food, water and drugs, jealousy and hatred and insecurity.

Security effects

Corruption has led to the down fall of past regimes byway of undermining the legitimacy of the governments and weakening their structures, reducing productivity, hindering development, worsening poverty, marginalizing the poor, creating social unrest and then to their downfall.

Background

The NRM government in 1986 inherited a country characterized by political unrest, human rights abuses, state inspired violence, economic mismanagement and gross corruption.

To address these evils, the government embarked on undertaking numerous structural, economic, political, administrative and legal reforms aimed at restoring good governance as evident in the various institutional, legal, political and economic reforms.

However, over the past 25 years of the NRM government, more emphasize had been put on ensuring that there is peace, security and stability and revamping the economy.

The critical bottlenecks of ideological disorientation and a culture that lacked democracy were not critically handled. This unfortunately led to serious consequences as now manifesting in the widespread corruption and economic sabotage we are witnessing today.

Corruption in Uganda now has become an acceptable norm and indeed a vast industry. Unfortunately this industry is only benefiting a few individuals but with very serious effects on the majority of the people of Uganda.

Following the allegations of financial impropriety in the Office of the Prime Minister, Government requested the Auditor General to undertake special investigations in the relevant Government Institutions and a report was produced with the following findings.

The fraudulent transfer of Shs. 20,171,576,247 meant for the Peace Recovery and Development Programme from the Budget support accounts to the off budget project account of Crisis Management Project and subsequent utilization without approved work plans and authority.

Diversion of additional Shs. 18,119,697,630 meant for Peace Recovery and Development Programme activities to National Policy Disaster Management and PRDP North Accounts without any availed authority.

Fraudulent payment of Shs. 16,222,877,129 by the Principal Accountant of OPM to staff, other accounts in OPM, Private companies, Centenary Bank and district accounts using responsibility that was fraudulently obtained from an officer of the Treasury.

Payments for a total of Shs. 13,454,035,346 from OPM accounts appearing to have signatures of the Permanent Secretary and Under Secretary differing from the Specimen signatures held by Bank of Uganda.

ZERO TOLERANCE

According to Lokodo, the NRM government declared zero tolerance to corruption. “Government therefore continues to intensify its efforts in the fight against corruption.

For long, the fight against corruption and moral decay in this country has been left to a few institutions of government and civil Society organisations while the rest of the Ugandan society are not involved but only keen at accusing government for allegedly lacking political will to address this issues,” admits Lokodo.

“The fight against corruption and moral decay therefore is one that involves a diversity of strategies and involvement of all stakeholders. To effectively stem out this problem, we must now more than ever before focus our attention in addressing the obstacle of ideological disorientation especially in the public sector where billions of public funds is being swindled,” said Lokodo.

The Minister further states that Ugandans need to cooperate fully with any party towards preventing criminal acts, misconduct and acts without integrity, support and cooperate in taking firm action against those who threaten the integrity of society and the nation; and to inculcate integrity as a way of live individually and collectively.

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