Government shielding corrupt officials, survey reveals
Posted Tuesday, October 22 2013 at 01:00
Kampala- Despite multiple investigations into corruption scandals involving senior government officials in the abuse of public funds, no high ranking government official has ever served a punishment, a rights body has said.
The survey carried out by Human Rights Watch and Yale Law School, which was released yesterday, says government officials use loopholes and laws that ‘insulate’ political appointees from accountability to elude punishment.
“Fighting corruption and ensuring accountability for theft of state resources is challenging given the entrenched patronage network that ensures loyalty over the duration of the president’s long stay in office, now 27 years. In order to maintain itself, President Museveni’s government has rewarded devotion with financial enrichment,” reads the report.
The 63-page report shows that the President’s rhetoric regarding rooting out corruption is frequently contradicted by his public statements on specific cases.
“These comments are often seen as tacit signals to witnesses, prosecutors and in some cases, judges,” the report adds.
Titled, “Letting the big fish swim- failures to prosecute high level corruption in Uganda,” the report shows that the illegal diversion of resources has negatively impacted on the realisation of human rights and unplanned expenditures used for patronage spending.
According to the report, political pressure and limited resources have weakened the country’s multiple anti-corruption institutions and curtailed their ability to systematically address corruption while long delays in filling key vacancies have made timely prosecutions very difficult.
The report is based on data collected from May to September 2013, including interviews targeting corruption scandals that have had direct impact on human rights over the years.
However, the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, described the report findings as untrue, saying the government has always respected decisions arrived at by national institutions.
“When an accused person is subjected to the due process of the law and he or she is acquitted, what does the executive have to do? Does that mean that executive has interfered yet in many occasions the judiciary has disagreed with the executive?” Mr Opondo said.