JULY 7, 2010: Kampala Tops New Corruption List

Kampala Tops New Corruption List

SOURCE: The Monitor

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Kampala — Government officials digging their hand into the till to directly pull out public funds remains the top form of corruption, the Inspectorate of government has said in a new report.

At 19.4 percent of complaints recorded at the IGG, mismanagement and misappropriation of public resources is the most reported form of corruption.

Ugandans also view and complain about non-payment of salaries at 18.7 per cent, followed by abuse of office at 17.8 per cent, delays in delivery of services, which often leads to solicitation and offering of bribes stands at 9.1 per cent. Property disputes, also viewed as a form of corruption stand at 7.3 per cent.

The report released by IGG Raphael Baku also reveals forgery and uttering of false documents, embezzlement, tenders and contracts manipulation, bribery and extortion, victimization or oppression, conflict of interest, false claims and tax evasion among the issues that irk many Ugandans.

The report details how worsening corruption is hamstringing delivery of government services to ordinary citizens and rendering key public institutions useless.

The report released yesterday, covering the financial year ending December 2009, puts Kampala in the lead of most complained-about administrative units while district local governments top public institutions perceived to be corrupt.

Kampala has the highest number of complaints at 418, followed by Fort Portal Municipality (56), Masaka (54), Arua (46) and Jinja (40), among others. The least complained about administrative areas are Mbale (13) and Moroto (16), implying outwardly that staff in these areas are less thieving.

Mr Baku said: "The complaints in the report are just a small fraction of the problems of corruption out there. Many people [suffer silently] and have not come out to report."

In the latest report, districts have for the third year running topped the list of the most complained-about institutions. This may be because ordinary citizens interface more with district, rather than central government, employees on daily basis and get first-hand brush with money-hungry bureaucrats.

The IGG, for instance, reports that bidders often offer bribes to Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and other officials --- so in the end, service providers do substandard work which the bribe-takers ironically monitor! "Individual public officials have continued to use their offices for private gain," reads the report.

Despite the establishment of various institutions, among them the IGG, the Police Criminal Investigations Directorate and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, to catch thieves in government, critics say less political will exists to follow through arrests, prosecutions and punishments of perpetrators.

The World Bank estimated in 2005 that Uganda loses about $300 million (Shs600 billion) through corruption and procurement malpractices every year, much of this being money meant for providing clean water, quality education, good roads and medicines in public health facilities. President Museveni has vowed to abolish the vice but majority Ugandans interviewed in a survey joint commissioned by Daily Monitor and European Union's Deepening said soaring corruption is NRM's biggest failure.

Yesterday, Mr Baku said fraudulent contract awards, shoddy works, fraudulent recruitment and unfair administrative decisions fuel corruption in the country.

That trend, he said, would only change if citizens get motivated that corrupt official they report are tried and punished.

Police prominently feature in the latest report, mainly on cases of bribe-taking, mismanagement, delayed service, victimisation/oppression, conflict of interest and misconduct. In the reporting period, the IGG received a total 827 corruption-related complaints, up from 739 complaints reported between January-July 2009.

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