Not every govt official is corrupt - Bahati

Monday December 02 2019

Handshake. The chairman of Inter-Religious Council for Kigezi sub-region, Fr Gaetano Batanyenda (left) shares a light moment with Minister David Bahati at a one-day dialogue on corruption in Kabale Town on Friday. PHOTO BY ROBERT MUHEREZA

The Minister of State for Planning, Mr David Bahati, has said not all government employees with wealth have amassed it through stealing public resources.
He said many government employees have private businesses that generate for them income on daily basis.
Mr Bahati said this on Friday in Kabale District during a public dialogue on how to end corruption in Uganda that was organised by Kick Corruption out of Uganda, a local NGO, in partnership with the office of the Inspector General of Government.
Several participants accused government employees and politicians of using their offices to swindle money meant for public services, leaving the citizens to suffer.
Mr Bahati, however, said: “Some time back, I was dealing in real estate and at one time, I bought a piece of land at Shs10 million on Entebbe Road. In less than one year, somebody paid me Shs200 million for the same piece of land.”
He added: “Besides being a government minister and Member of Parliament for Ndorwa West constituency, I own an audit firm where I work every day after completing government business. Some government workers have a lot of money because they work hard in their private businesses and it is false to generalise that all government workers swindle government money.”
He said the Inspector General of Government should always publish riches of politicians every year in newspapers to save them from embarrassing statements of lazy people that refer to them as thieves of government money.
He further said demonstrations by Opposition politicians in the country are acts of corruption because they are aiming at removing the elected government leaders from power.
“Corruption is not only the embezzling of government funds and using government offices for one’s benefit but also that acts of the Opposition demonstrating on the streets of Kampala, burning motor vehicles tyres and holding illegal assemblies are equally corruption because such acts are aimed at undermining the elected leaders whose terms of office are still running,” Mr Bahati said.
He added that government is aware of the corrupt tendencies in institutions and offices such as the district service commissions, procurement, lands and courts of law and asked victims to report any officer that demands for bribes so that they can be arrested and charged accordingly.
Mr Bahati also asked the locals to always participate in budget conferences so as to be able to demand for accountabilities from their leaders.
The former board chairman of Kick Corruption out of Uganda, who is also Kitanga Catholic Parish priest, Fr Gaetano Batanyenda, said the recent government announcement to create 20 new constituencies is also corruption because it is intended to raise a huge number of MPs to keep the ruling government in power.
The Commissioner for Internal Audit and Compliance at Uganda Revenue Authority, Dr Protazio Begumisa, warned Ugandans against paying bribes secretly and making noise after being cheated.
“Complain before paying bribes so that the corrupt officials can be arrested. Church and community leaders should stop glorifying the corrupt people by giving them front seats in churches and community meetings. It has been established that those that make loud noise about government taxes are the biggest defaulters. Failure to pay taxes is corruption that must be stopped for national development,” Dr Begumisa said.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Henry Musasizi, blamed the technocrats for the corruption in Uganda and called for establishment of strong internal mechanisms such as e-procurement to fight the vice.