Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Office of the Inspector General of Government-IGG has said it lacks enough funds to verify all declarations of income, assets and liabilities made by persons in leadership positions and public offices.
The amended Leadership Code Act, 2021 makes it compulsory for all public officers (including leaders in political offices) to within three months of starting work in the public service, to declare assets, incomes and liabilities to the Inspector General of Government (IGG). Thereafter, a public officer is required to make declarations in every five years.
After declaration, it would be expected that inspectorate of government would verify that the submitted information is right.
However, Deputy IGG Dr. Patricia Achan Okiria says the institution has delayed to carry out its statutory obligation due to lack funds.
Verifying declarations is one of the ways how the IGG is able to tell corrupt officers and those who are living a life which is not commensurate with their earnings. Annet Twine, director leadership code implementation and monitoring, notes that the inspectorate needs between one to two million to verify declarations made by an individual officer.
Given the fact the inspectorate expected 25,000 leaders and 333,000 other public officers to declare their wealth from March to August last year. This means the IGG’s office needs funding ranging from 358 billion shillings to 716 billion shillings if they were to complete their mandate.
Now with this inadequacy, Beti Kamya, the Inspector General of Government says they have decided to start small with at least 160 officials. Kamya says they will start with top government officials who are running big budgets.
On the list are 37 top officials from the IGG’s office, 53 accounting officers of central government budget votes, and 30 accounting officers of government agencies with the biggest budgets. Others are 30 Chief Administrative Officers of districts with big budgets and 10 Town Clerks of urban councils.
Kamya says the selected officers shouldn’t see the move as a witch-hunt but rather understand that they have been on list because of their unique responsibilities in the management of public resources.
Although the IGG doesn’t have funding to carry out verification of each and every declaration submitted, she notes that this doesn’t bar public officials from making declaration as per the law.
Available statistics indicate that 150,813 public officials are yet to declare their wealth. On the other hand, 1,920 political leaders have also failed to declare their wealth.
Dr. Patricia Achan Okiria, the Deputy IGG says that they have started making investigations to find out why some officers have not yet made their returns. She notes that those who have genuine reasons will be left off the hook.
The act sets a fine of Shillings 400,000 per month for the initial three months of non-submission of the declaration. After the initial three months, one who does not declare is expected to pay a fine not exceeding Shillings 800,000 per month.
IGG Kamya says none compliance, false or under-declarations have other far reaching repercussions including dismissal from office citing what happened to former Rubaga MP Ken Lukyamuzi in 2005 as an example.