Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Irene Mulyagonja has emphasised a need to have a law on Non-Conviction Based Asset Recovery to allow government attach assets of people who acquire wealth through corruption.
Mulyagonja says that the law will enable her office, once it has evidence, to attach property of the corrupt officials without taking them to court. This could reduce on the high burden of prosecution that frustrates the effort of recovering assets.
Lady Justice Mulyagonja together with her Deputy George Bamugemereire were appearing before the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to present the financial year 2018/2019 policy statement for the Inspectorate of Government.
The IGG told Members of Parliament that the Inspectorate is currently going through the process of formulating the law on Non-Conviction Based Asset Recovery. She however added that they have met challenges especially from the office of Attorney General with officers who don’t understand that they can go after assets and not the suspect.
She said that some countries like South Africa are successfully using the Non-Conviction Based Asset Recovery to recover a lot of money from corrupt public servants and that it is this law they are using as a case study to come up with a bill.
Mulyagonja said that the proposed legislation has to first be understood not to be a curtail from guaranteeing people a right to be heard in courts of law before the assets are taken away from them.
Mulyagonja has in the past acknowledged that that they were not doing well in the area of assets recovery since jail sentences alone do not give a significant blow to corrupt officials. She said that it’s the confiscation of ill-gotten assets that hits the criminals where it hurts most.
Meanwhile, the IGG also told MPs that her office is finding difficulties to fully investigate and prosecute perpetuators of nepotism and influence peddling in especially district service commissions saying that her office has received a number of complaints but complainants do not want to give specific facts and not willing to stand as witnesses.
This was after MPs led by Kumi Woman MP Monica Amoding and Kyaka South MP Jackson Kafuuzi asked the Inspectorate of Government to concentrate more on nepotism and influence peddling especially in District Service Commissions.
“Nepotism and Influence peddling right now in the public service is becoming a problem. Can we see some prosecution in that area? Teachers in my district were being asked to pay four million shillings to get their applications approved,” Amoding reported.
MP Jackson Kafuuzi also reported that District Service Commissions sell jobs and that there is a general outcry against them.
The chairperson of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Jacob Oboth-Oboth, insisted that the Inspectorate of Government should try to implement a number of skills like laying traps in the District Service Commissions. He gave an example that the Secretary to the Commission in Tororo District will be one of the culprits that IGG will get once traps are laid.
But Mulyagonja said that she cannot guarantee that the perpetuators will be caught because most times when they lay traps, the people being used get excited and sometimes tip off people being trapped.