By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA|The ‘war’ on corruption has been shifted to State House, a top State house official has disclosed.
This will lessen the public talk that only ‘Small fish’ are being targeted by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU).
SHACU headed by the dreaded Lt. Col Edith Nakalema Asizua was formed by President Museveni two years ago to address the rampant corruption.
Now just like the African proverb says; “Fish starts rotting from the head” the rot at State House is being addressed effectively.
According to Nakalema, no one, even in State House will be spared. She said so far three top State House officials had been arrested and questioned regarding corruption-related issues.
“I promised that no one will be spared in this fight. We don’t only capture small fish, a thief is a thief. All thieves are the same. In fact, the small fish leads to the big fish,” said Nakalema.
She was delivering a keynote speech during the 9th Anti-corruption Convention that was held at the Royal Suites Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.
Action-aid, Transparency International Uganda (TIU), Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), Africa Freedom of Information Center (AFIC), Kick Corruption Out of Uganda and Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) facilitated the event.
The theme of the two-day event is: Promoting Social Accountability Through Active Citizenry”.
Addressing the participants, Nakalem who was asked to comment if she would prosecute State House officials said: “So far I have arrested three officials from State House, Catherina Kusasira the presidential Advisor on Kampala Affairs and Hillary Kisakye Musoke.”
She said another third person, also a senior presidential advisor, that she didn’t name was arrested on Tuesday over corruption-related issues.
Catherine Kusasira who was summoned last week before she was released on police bond was questioned over the shs4.5b fraud that involved pastors fleecing vulnerable Ugandans. (Read: https://shiftmedianews.com/nabbed-scores-of-pastors-catherine-kusasira-face-arrest-over-embezzled-shs-4b-from-christians/)
The kingpin, a one Pastor Sirajje Ssemanda of Revival Church Ministries in Bombo was nabbed as he tried to flee to Tanzania through the Mutukula border post.
He is currently on remand at Kitalya prisons.. (Read) https://shiftmedianews.com/probed-top-police-officers-face-arrest-over-shs4.5b-fraud/
What has been done so far
Nakalema said corruption retards development especially when resources meant for national development are siphoned by individuals.
She said that her unit has so far recovered Ugx24.5 billion from corrupt Ugandans.
“This has been due to the citizenry engagements, rapid response, speedy processing and management of cases, coupled with zero tolerance to corruption and the open-door policy,” she said.
She also said closer collaboration with other anti-corruption agencies such as the CID, PPDA, Auditor General, Anti-Corruption court and the Financial Intelligence Authority has greatly helped.
Nakalema said so far 8 accounting officers, (CEOs, Ps), 4 directors in government departments, 1 MP, 14 Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs), Town Clerks, 4 private sector directors and 22 security agency officials have been prosecuted.
“Out of the over 60,000 cases received, we made 248 arrests, had 24 convictions, and had 185 interdictions of public officers,” she said.
She said SHACU also help repatriate 500 Ugandans who were stuck in the Middle East during Covid-19.
Other stakeholders speak out
Cissy Kagaba the Executive Director Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda said the fight against corruption is such a huge task that can’t be left for government alone.
The ActionAid Uganda Country Director Xavier Ejoyi said corruption is so deep-rooted in Uganda that it needs to be wiped out in all fronts.
“Corruption has a social norm, you hear someone saying, this is Uganda. That is a very loaded statement that shields corruption,” he said.
The Head of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) in Uganda Nicole Bjerler (below) said corruption needs to be addressed if issues of poverty are to be addressed.
“We applaud the government of Uganda for championing the fight against corruption through establishment of various anti-corruption units, but more efforts are needed,” she said.
She urged Ugandans to join peaceful means to address corruption.
The Executive Director Transparency International Uganda (TIU) Peter Wandera, said there was some remarkable improvement regarding the benchmark set during the 8th Anti-corruption convention held last year.
Wandera observed that some of the 14 underlying factors that needed to be sorted so as to effectively address corruption had been achieved.
“Issues such as the establishment of the Leadership Code Tribunal has been solved,” he said.
He said there is work regarding the creation of awareness among the youth regarding issues of combating corruption.