Wednesday January 6 2010

Districts retain ‘most complained about’ title

IGG report


By Mercy Nalugo & Yasiin Mugerwa

A new report by the Inspectorate General of Government (IGG) has ranked districts among the six public institutions most frequently complained about by Ugandans due to perceptions that they are corrupt.

The others, according to the report that was released yesterday and covers the financial year ending in June 2009, are public officials, police and administrators of public schools. “Most complaints received by the IGG were against district administrators which were 150 of the total complaints received. They include mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds/resources, abuse of office, embezzlement, mishandling of tenders and contracts and property disputes,” reads the report. The districts have for the second financial year running topped the list of the most complained about institutions representing 20.3 per cent. Some 2,933 complaints were received and only 288 were investigated to conclusion in the year under review.

In the previous year, the IGG received 2,667 complaints of which 603 were investigated and concluded and about 230 cases referred to other institutions for further scrutiny.

The survey ranked Kampala District as having the highest number of complaints with 363, followed by Jinja (40) and Fort Portal (54).
“The public officials have individually continued to use their offices for private gain. The nature of cases mostly reported in this category include abuse of office, conflict of interest, forgery and uttering false documents, property disputes and victimisation,” says the report.

Acting IGG Raphael Baku said corruption in the districts is due to lack of capacity and disrespecting procedures. He warned that errant Chief Administrative Officers will be prosecuted if they fail to take action on corrupt officials.

The Police was the third highest category complained about with 58 registered complaints (7.8 per cent), majority of which were at regional level. They are followed by the education authorities in both primary and secondary schools; most complaints raised against them were about mismanagement and misappropriation. “The nature of complaints remains conflict of interest, abuse of office, forgery and uttering of false documents.”

Municipal councils were in the fifth position and the complaints raised ranged from mishandling of tenders/contracts, conflict of interest, abuse of office, embezzlement and property disputes while Districts Service Commissioners were ranked sixth with complaints of mismanaging recruitments and abuse of office.

18 arrested
In the report, 18 public officers were arrested for various corruption offences while complaints against public officers accounted for 28 per cent of all the complaints handled. The majority were against the Administrator General’s office.

Presenting the new report to Parliament yesterday, Mr Baku expressed concern over failure by Parliament to debate previous IGG reports on corruption. “Since 1999 our reports have not been touched and this has affected the way we do our work,” Mr Baku said.

Mr Baku, who said the Inspectorate has offices in only 13 of nearly 100 districts due to underfunding. Legal committee chairman Steven Tashobya said MPs took blame but had worked out a modality to discuss the reports.