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.