Colonel Nakalema started by recognizing the presence of the Vice President, ministers, members of parliament and thanked delegates attending the forum.
She commended the chairman and founder of the convention for his dedication and commended him for promoting Uganda.
She further said that her unit is determined to fight corruption. However, she accepted that it still had had a long way to go. She appealed to everyone, including Ugandans in the Diaspora, to report any form of bribery and corruption they encounter.
The anti-corruption unit has the direct involvement of the President and he is part of the zero-tolerance policy in the fight against corruption. The unit operates 24 hours call centre with 45 staffs who speak all the languages in Uganda, this helps to be inclusive and cater for all Ugandans.
The unit works with all other anti-corruption agencies in Uganda.
The Government has Interventions to fight Corruption and has enacted relevant laws which include; the 1995 Constitution, the Inspectorate of Govt Act 2002, Leadership Code Act 2002, Anti Money Laundering Act 2002, Anti-corruption Act 2009, PPDA Act 2003 amongst others.
It has also strengthened the Anti-Corruption drive by creating supporting institutions such as, the IGG, PPDA, FIA, DPP, OAG and Uganda Police. It has also empowered Parliament oversight committees such as (PAC, COSASE, Budget Committee. Special commissions of inquiries like: Sebutinde – Police & URA, Bamugemerire, UNRA & Land Matters have been setup.
Also, Anti-Corruption Court has been setup for quick convictions.
Despite all these measures, she added, corruption still remains a problem. In line with the ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY AGAINST CORRUPTION Government has not taken a back seat.
In line with the Zero Tolerance Policy, H.E The President established the State House Anti-Corruption Unit as a channel for his direct involvement in this fight.
The creation of SH-ACU is done in exercise of the Executive Authority granted to H.E The President under Article 99 (4) of the Constitution of the republic of Uganda.
The anti-corruption unit is mandated to:
- Receive, scrutinize and act on corruption related complaints in partnership with other Agencies.
- Act as a Rapid Response to cases where there is public outcry.
- Act as a link between the Citizens and H.E The President in the fight against corruption.
- Review reports/requests submitted to H.E The President from Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) and Local Gov’ts in relation to the fight against corruption.
The Government created a one stop centre (www.ebiz.go.ug) under UIA and also automated most government services as a move to ease doing business in Uganda as well to reduce red-tape, limit physical interaction between citizens and public officers.
Some of the services include:
- URSB – Business Name Search & Reservation
- Ministry of Lands – Land Title Verification
- NEMA – Environmental Impact Assessment
- KCCA – Trading License
Automation of Business Processes:
- Automation of Courts in the following areas:
- Video Conferencing to enable witnesses across the world to give testimony. Also, to allow for arbitration of cases remotely and cost effective.
- Electronic Court Case Management to allow for the e-filing of Court cases from across the globe. It also allows for tracking of cases from point of filing to judgment eliminating loss and tampering of case files.
- E – visa system at visas.immigration.go.ug
- Online application for all Visas, Entry Permits, Certificates of Residence, Dependant Passes and Student Passes.
- All applications are processed within 48 hours without physical interaction with an immigration officer.
As a move to promote transparency the government MDAs publish key information and raw data on websites for transparency and accountability:
- Ministry of Finance (MOFPED) – Budget Information (https://budget.go.ug)
- KCCA – Project information (https://kcca.go.ug/road-constructions)
- PPDA – Procurement Plans (https://gpp.ppda.go.ug/#/public/procurement-plans) etc.
She added that, in order to curb corruption within the government officials, the Inspectorate under the Leadership Code Act 2002 requires senior government officials and politically exposed persons to declare their wealth every two (2) years and the collected data is verified against other automated systems (Land, tax, business etc.).
The Government has put in place platforms for citizens and everyone including people in the Diaspora to report corruption:
- Inspectorate of Government – https://www.igg.go.ug/complaints/
- State House Anti-Corruption Unit ( https://reportcorruption.go.ug/) – call centre.
In order to enforce the Anti – Corruption Laws, emphasis is being put on investigation and prosecution of offenders and where found guilty, they are barred from holding public office for ten (10) years and orders are made to recover stolen assets. In 2018, the Anti-Corruption division of the High Court raised Ugx Shs. 20 billion in fines and recovery.
This does not mean there is no challenges in fighting corruption, sentences in Anti-Corruption Laws are not punitive enough. To resolve this, emphasis is directed towards asset recovery. There is fear by witnesses to testify in court after reporting corruption cases.
Within8eight (8) months; the Anti-Corruption unit has taken 99 Public Officials to Anticorruption Court, 76,393 voice calls and complaints are received on the toll-free number, 5 Convictions and 1,683 Walk-ins, and visitors to the unit are 25 per day.
Finally, Lt Col Nakalema appealed to everyone to join the collective fight against corruption.
Anti-Corruption Unit, State House
Toll-free helpline: 0800 202500 (free of charge on any mobile network in Uganda)