Ministers criticise govt on corruption
Posted Monday, January 14 2013 at 08:27
Three ministers have joined outspoken NRM MPs in criticising “lip-service” approaches to the fight against corruption. Responding to President Museveni’s presentation on corruption at the weekend, junior ministers Freddie Ruhindi (deputy Attorney General), Sam Engola, (Housing) and Ms Justine Lumumba (Chief Whip) called for more transparency and accountability in government.
The President had emphasised that there was political will to fight the vice. Sources said Mr Ruhindi was applauded as he complained that decisions were being taken without consulting party members, and criticised calls to dismiss ‘rebel’ MPs.
“We must look each other in the eye and address these issues. As leaders we must lead by example,” Mr Ruhindi said. “Why are we not listening to the ‘bad boys’? Now that they are here, this is an opportunity for us to talk about their issues,” he reportedly said.
Referring to iconic African leaders like Nelson Mandela and Julius Nyerere, whom he praised for leaving office with modest wealth, Mr Ruhindi said: “Leaders today have amassed a lot of wealth.”
In a press statement yesterday, the spokesperson of the NRM caucus, Ms Evelyn Anite, quoted the President saying embezzlement was being tackled and that the “so-called crusaders against corruption, including politicians, some members of the clergy … are total amateurs” who have nothing to teach him on the subject.
However, Mr Engola, reportedly said the failure to take action against the corrupt has undermined the government. “The big problem is some corrupt public servants have godfathers… For example the permanent secretaries in the Ministry of Public Service and that of Local government were asked to leave office yet the PS in the Office of the Prime Minister and Internal Affairs have remained in office. This does not augur well in public,” Mr Engola said.
The two former permanent secretaries are being probed over alleged abuse of office.
Ms Lumumba reportedly criticised State House for creating parallel agencies to fight corruption whose roles clash with those of official government bodies.
Still, sources said President Museveni defended Mr Birigimana as a whistleblower in the billion-shilling OPM scam and said he will not yield to pressure to have him fired.
The president also blasted MPs, especially on the oversight committees, saying they accept bribes.
Ms Anite said the President committed to the proposed Anti-Corruption Amendment Bill 2012 that deals with the confiscation of the proceeds of ill-gotten wealth.