Illegally acquired wealth to be tracked electronically

Mr Arnold Mangeni, the manager Information Security, National Information Technology Authority Uganda. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE

Kampala- Government has commissioned new technology which can detect wealth owned by public servants but never declared to the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) under the Leadership Code Act.

While launching the technology recently, Mr Arnold Mangeni, the manager information security at the National Information Technology Authority Uganda, said the technology analyses confidential information which public servants provide to different government ministries, departments and agencies to see whether it is consistent with the one declared to the IGG under the leadership code act.

“Under the leadership code, you might have declared to the IGG that you own two houses because of the salary you earn yet in the ministry of Lands, the records show that you own 15 houses because of the interests you have, ” he said.

Lifestyle vs salary
He explained that compared to the leadership code, the technology is easier to deal with because you just look at the lifestyle of the person in question and compare it to the salary they earn.

Mr Mangeni cited procurement officers who earn little but live expensive lifestyles and cannot explain the sources of the extra income saying most times these are kickbacks that compromise the quality of work.

He gave banks as examples where bank managers who earn little salaries have invaded commission accounts like fixed deposit accounts and diverted the interest on these accounts to own use.

Asked if the system will also not be compromised like the leadership code, he said the system checks all the government databases which have been interlinked and can trace the source of fraud to the individuals involved.

IGG response
Ms Ali Munira, the public relations officer, Inspectorate of Government, said there have been challenges of knowing who owns what asset because most properties are registered in other people’s names.

She, however, said when Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) databases are linked with those of ministry of Lands and the IGG’s office, then it will be possible to monitor the wealth acquired.

“When buying land, you are required to register it with URA, what we usually do is to investigate whether the property you own is commensurate with the income that you earn,” she said.

About the law
The Anti-Money Laundering Act (2013) gives the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) powers to access sources of government officials’ wealth and investigate transactions on their bank accounts, to find out how corruption proceeds are wired into and out of the country.

Section 18 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act facilitates the reporting of suspicious money transactions to the Financial Intelligence Authority for investigation.

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