The Auditor General (AG) ranks top in recovering money pilfered by public officials followed by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) with the Inspectorate of Government coming third on that yardstick.
The three agencies, which are frontline anti-graft soldiers, combined over the past three years got back into state coffers about Shs241b taken out by bureaucrats, according to a scorecard released yesterday.
The report shows that the Office of the Auditor General headed by Mr John Muwanga recovered Shs179b from botched corruption schemes.
The scorecard of the key achievements of the anti-corruption entities covers the period from July 2020 to-date and the findings were released ahead of Friday’s celebration of the International Anti-Corruption Day.
According to the report, the Auditor General carried out 6,763 financial compliance, 23 value-for-money, 101 specialized engineering, 85 forensic, and nine Information Technology (IT) audits during the reviewed period.
Ms Rose Lilly Akello, the State minister for Ethics and Integrity, presented the findings during a press conference in Kampala yesterday ahead of the commemoration in Ibanda District of the anti-graft day organizers hope will increase public awareness about the evils of the vice and enlist their participation in fighting it.
The scorecard shows that SHACU recovered Shs35.5b, with Shs8.6b in inflated Covid-19 relief food prices; Shs480m swindled at local governments, Shs3.6b inflated claims in the name of Bukasa Inland Port project-affected persons, and Shs2.9b worth of stolen drugs.
On the other hand, the Inspectorate of Government (IG) investigated 26 high-profile corruption cases and recovered Shs30b, including Shs9b and Shs1b from the Agriculture ministry and Uganda Bureau of Statistics, respectively.
This newspaper, which Inspector General of Government Beti Kamya early this year promised to reward with 5 percent whistleblower’s commission, broke the story of the scheme in which bureaucrats wired nearly Shs9b ostensibly for operations of fisheries and agricultural institutes which were closed during the two years of Covid-induced lockdown.
The IG is currently investigating cases valued at about Shs500b, some of which led to halting numerous suspicious procurements and activities that would have led to the loss of public funds.
A previous study commissioned by the IGG established that the country loses Shs10 trillion annually in corruption, mainly through non and under-declaration of taxes, employees getting paid yet they do not work, inflated payrolls, and botched procurement processes, among others.
IGG Kamya yesterday told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre that they were working with other collaborating agencies to involve the public in the war against corruption which she said was old as humanity.
The other anti-corruption agencies highlighted in the scorecard included the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), which partly recovered Shs10, and Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) that is poised to recover an estimated Shs6.4b through ongoing inquiries into 3, 627 suspicious transactions.
The agency’s line of questioning relates to money laundering, corruption, fraud, and terrorism financing suspicions.
“Nine intelligence reports related to corruption were sent to the Inspectorate of Government, and their successful operation will lead to the possible recovery of Shs6.4 billion,” the scorecard states in reference to the performance from the Financial Intelligence Authority.
After registering a total of 318 cases, of which 56 were submitted to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and 23 were sanctioned for prosecution, the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) of the Uganda Police Force contribution to recovered funds totals Shs615m.
Lawmakers in an afternoon session yesterday chaired by Parliament Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa commended minister Akello for the scorecard, with Mr Tayebwa describing it as “very important and [with] detailed information”.
His only concern was that the House was left out among the institutions championing the fight against corruption.
“The Committees of Parliament and the money we have managed to recover … are much more than what you have mentioned here [in the scorecard in addition to] the money we have blocked that would have gone to corruption. Parliament is your partner [and therefore] next time, consider us,” he said.
Mr Tayebwa ruled that the House would discuss the scorecard and line minister’s statement about it today.
In the scorecard report that minister Akello presented to Parliament, the money the IG recovered was Shs18.2b, which pales in comparison with the Shs30b earlier announced in the day at Uganda Media Centre.
In addition, she told legislators that SHACU got back Shs41.6b, higher than Shs35.5b initially declared. Minister Akello was unavailable last evening when this newspaper tried multiple times to reach her for an explanation of the discrepancies.
Source: Daily Monitor