According to today’s Daily Monitor, the Statehouse Anti-Corruption Unit, headed by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema is probing some members of management and the board of the Inspectorate of Government (IG) for alleged corruption as well as illegal and irregular recruitments.
This stems from a whistleblower report from an insider at the IG that also accused the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Mrs. Irene Mulyagonja Kakooza of poor leadership that has presided over this maladministration.
Reacting to the calls for investigation, Mrs. Mulyagonja on Friday April 12th told Daily Monitor newspaper that her office was anxiously waiting for the outcomes of the State House investigation to take action on the culprits- which bytheway include herself, since she is directly named in the whistleblower report.
Given that it is none, other than the IGG herself being accused of corruption and presiding over corruption, the public would have expected a more solid response from her office, either her stepping aside or at least, ordering the other named staff such as Secretary to the Inspectorate Rose N. Nakafeero to go on leave pending the investigations.
But as it is, the IGG does not like to take her own medicine.
It shall be remembered that for example while appearing before Parliament’s Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) that probed the so-called UGX6 billion handshake- the IGG said that all the named officials should step aside to allow for proper investigations.
But this is not the first time that corruption is being leveled against the office of IGG.
In January 2019, news came to light that the government procurement watchdog- Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) cancelled the tender award for construction of the IGG towers to Roko Construction over “a rigged evaluation process.”
Matter of fact, according to the Inspectorate of Government Policy Statement made to Parliament’s Legal And Parliamentary Affairs Committee on April 4th, mismanagement of this procurement led to a 52.11% budget performance by the IG.
“By the end of the March 2019 UGX 42.602 billion (82%) of the annual budget had been released and UGX 31.066 Billion (52.11%) had been spent. The unspent balance of UGX 10.729 Billion is earmarked to start construction of the IG Head Office Building,” read an extract from the report.
What happened to the IGG? Why does the public not trust that institution? If it is not working, why should we keep it? We need answers.
For Mrs. Mulyagonja who on April 12th started her 7th year as IGG, corruption, even mere allegations under the nose of the very same institution that is supposed to fight it, is even more disturbing. As a leader she needs to set a good example and step aside for the investigations to be fully concluded.
The inspectorate is expected to spend UGX68.474 billion (UGX52.807 from Government of Uganda and UGX15.667 billion in off-budget support from development partners) and UGX64.877 billion in FY2019/2020 it is expected will be spent on the IGG’s office.
The country deserves better accountability for this money. We cannot simply afford to invest more money to investigate how this money is being spent.
But now that the Nakalema probe has started, she also ought to look into all the other allegations such as the PPDA procurement so as to get an understanding as to why, under Mulyagonja’s reign, Uganda’s Transparency Index scores have worsened from the 130/180 position in 2012 to 151/180 in 2016; improving slightly to 149/180 in 2018 today.
Just to re-echo the words of President Yoweri Museveni during the June 6th 2018, State of the Nation Address: “What happened to the IGG? Why don’t the victims of corruption report those incidences of corruption to the IGG… “If it is not working, why should we keep it then? The IGG should reflect on this. Are her staff credible? Why does the public not trust that institution? We need answers.”
Indeed we need answers.
Hopefully Lt. Col Edith Nakalema’s probe will give us those answers.
I will pursue Bank of Uganda to the end; if I die, my son will take over- Dr. Sudhir vows
“Nobody has been in the past been able to win Central Bank – they have stolen 7 different banks and not accounted to any shareholder and this is the unfortunate part of the whole scenario. You take somebody’s assets, you steal it, you profit from it and you don’t account for it; this is so ridiculous! Then, they sued for $100 Million; the money they stole, they are suing me for it. How?” he wondered.
Pictorial: How Meera Investments is changing Kampala’s skyline
Today, Meera Investments, the property development arm of the Ruparelia Group officially inaugurates their Electrical Plaza, the latest addition to their mixed use building portfolio in the city centre.
Since 1994, Meera has been part of a number of innovative property solutions in mainly, the commercial and residential space and today owns sectors and to date owns over 300 properties in Kampala and other major towns like Mukono, Jinja, Mbale and Mbarara.
The company, according to its Chairman and founder, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, is the largest developer of commercial and residential properties and also owns the largest number of ongoing real estate projects. It is also the largest private owner of commercial land in Kampala.
Meera Investments Limited was in 2017/18 rated as a top rental income taxpayer by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) while Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the Chairman/Managing Director of Meera Investments, was rated the second biggest individual rental income taxpayer.
Over the last 3-4 years, the company has been on a construction spree, raising several properties across Kampala, which have both redefined city architecture and changed both Kampala’s skyline, as well as the look and feel of the Kampala City.
Today, we revisit and review some of those projects, especially those developed over the last 3-4 years
“The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned,” Says Coordinator
” The Standard Gauge Railway was adopted in 2014, by the East Africa Presidents who launched the multitrillion project meant to modernise the traditional railway transport system geared towards boosting economic growth by facilitating a faster movement of goods across borders. “
The SGR Coordinator, Canon Perez Wamburu while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday to respond to audit queries raised in the 2017/2018 audit report that raised concerns over the delays in implementation of the perceived regional railway, he affirmed that Uganda is on schedule for the construction despite compensating only 11% compensation of the project affected persons within three years.
His remarks were in response to a call by some MPs like Theodore Ssekikuubo (Lwemiyaga County) who questioned why taxpayers have to continue funding the team in charge of SGR yet no single kilometer of the railway has been constructed, five years from the time it was launched in 2014.
Ssekikuubo said, “We are incurring nugatory expenditure on this white elephant. Is it about time we launched the standard gauge railway. After a decade of the launch, not even one kilometer has been put on ground. Kenya has already started on its side, ours was launched at a hotel in Munyonyo, it has remained there, dead and buried there unless the contrary is proved, are we as a country right to continue appropriating money to a non-starting project.”
In response, Wamburu said, “We agreed that Kenya and Uganda arrive at Malaba at the same time. The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned. Uganda SGR isn’t late at all.”
The Standard Gauge Railway was adopted in 2014, by the East Africa Presidents who launched the multitrillion project meant to modernise the traditional railway transport system geared towards boosting economic growth by facilitating a faster movement of goods across borders.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya flagged off the maiden passenger train on the newly completed Mombasa-Nairobi SGR in March 2017 and although Uganda had promised to start construction in June 2015, but three years down the road, Government is yet to complete funding negotiations with Exim Bank China.
On Uganda’s side, project is to cost USD2.8Bn approximately, of this, Exim Bank will bring on board USD2.3Bn which represents 85%, while the remaining 15% will be footed by Ugandan tax payers.
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