11 December 2018

Uganda: Government to Seize Property of Corrupt Officials - Museveni

Photo: Supplied
Anti-corruption chief Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema (file photo)

Kampala — President Museveni has said in his new plan to fight corruption, government will confiscate property of public servants who steal public resources.

Mr Museveni said the new approach will reduce corruption, which he said has affected service delivery in the country.

"All property belonging to corrupt officials will be confiscated. But I will first get first-hand information before confiscation of the property and I will order organisations fighting corruption to avail me with more details of stolen money," Mr Museveni said yesterday at Kololo Independence Grounds while officiating at the Anti-Corruption week.

It was celebrated under the theme: "Citizens' participation in fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Uganda's transformation."

In 2013, the then Makindye East MP, Mr John Ssimbwa, tabled a motion seeking enactment of Anti-Corruption Bill 2013, which sought to provide the government with binding powers to confiscate property of people convicted of corruption by the Anti-Corruption Court.

Mr Ssimbwa said the Bill would also ensure that property placed in the names of relatives and friends of corrupt officials is traced and recovered. However, the motion was frustrated and ultimately defeated in Parliament.

Pursuant to his new plan against corruption, Mr Museveni launched a new unit under his office headed by Lt Col Edith Nakalema where people will report corrupt government officials.

However, the President did not offer details of when the crackdown on corrupt officials will start.

He further threatened to sack all corrupt government officials, but added that this will be done upon thorough investigations, saying he does not want to put workers on pressure.

"What I was expecting here was to see how we can quickly and effectively assess the public servants responsible for those mistakes, get rid of them and get new people or they reform. We can no longer be blackmailed because we have enough manpower," Mr Museveni said.

However, he warned Lt Col Nakalema against infiltration of wrong elements he termed as "weevils."

The President said she should avoid employing corrupt officials in the new anti-corruption unit.

Mr Museveni also said he will engage the Speaker of Parliament and Chief Justice on how they can fight corruption in their institutions.

His remarks come on the heels of glaring corrupt cases in the country, something that has since put government on spot, with some members of the public accusing it of protecting the thieves.

Mr Museveni named permanent secretaries, chief administrative officers, town clerks and sub-county chiefs as the top offenders responsible for plunder of public funds.

"Those people are the ones with authority on money in the country and if I get news that government money has been stolen, I will go directly to those four thieves. Services are not being provided because money is being diverted to other areas," the President said.

He noted that whereas the army had stopped extortion after disbandment of roadblocks, their counterparts in police-- Traffic Police-- whom he described as "parasites" have continued to extort money from motorists.

"When we took over power, we made sure that employees are examined before being employed. However, the only problem today is integrity and it is never followed up. But the good thing is that Uganda has many children who are educated. So you who are tired are free to leave us alone so that fresh ones come in," Mr Museveni said.

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