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Gov’t struggling to recover funds from corrupt officials

Minister Rose Lilly Akello presents the statement to the House.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A statement by Ethics and Integrity Minister, Rose Lilly Akello has highlighted the plight of anti-graft agencies, which are struggling to force corrupt officials to drop their loot.

From the office of the Inspectorate of Government (IG), whereas Shs18.2 billion was identified as proceeds of crime to be returned to public coffers, the Minister told Parliament that only Shs7 billion has been recovered. The Auditor General is no different.

“The Office of the Auditor General carried out 6,268 financial compliance audits, 23 value for money audits, 101 specialised engineering audits, 85 forensics special audits and nine IT audits over the last three financial years,” she said.

Of these, Shs175 billion is due to be returned to the taxpayer, but so far Shs4 billion in cash and assets has been recovered from the corrupt.

For the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), after prosecuting a record 261 graft cases and getting 110 convictions, only Shs10 billion, USS$16,000 and malaria drugs valued at Shs28 million was salvaged.

The Criminal Investigations Directorate scoured through 318 cases, presenting 56 files to the DPP, and 23 files were fit for prosecution.

This effort only managed to bring Shs615 million back to the taxpayer.

During the Covid-19 pandemic relief bonanza that saw officials help themselves to painfully sourced public funds, Shs41.6 billion was recovered from officials, with billions sinking unsalvaged.

“The State House Anti-Corruption Unit recovered a total amount of Shs41.6 billion, of which Shs9.6 billion was from inflated Covid-19 relief food prices; Shs4.5 billion from local governments; Shs3.6 billion from inflated compensation of Bukasa Inland port affected persons and Shs2.9 billion worth of drugs which had been stolen from Joint Medical Stores was recovered,” she said.

The Financial Intelligence Authority, on the other hand reported Shs6.4 billion in corruption still in the hands of thieving officials awaiting prosecution, with recovery hoped to see that money returned to public coffers.

At the Leadership Code Tribunal, corrupt officials opted to use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, where they offered to return Shs10.9 billion, out of which only Shs5.9 billion has hit government’s escrow account at Bank of Uganda.

The Minister’s statement was in readiness for the celebrations of the Anti-Corruption day on Friday, 09 December 2022.

This year’s theme is: “Citizens must own the war to eliminate corruption. It is their war.”

Official celebrations will happen in Ibanda.



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