IGG takes graft war to citizens

Ms Beti Kamya, the Inspector General of Government (left), interacts with the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, during the breakfast meeting between the IGG and media in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • Ms Kamya said it is not only the responsibility of the government institutions to fight corruption but everyone’s responsibility if the vice is to be defeated.

The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, has blamed the rampant corruption in the country on the breakdown of institutions and systems, which she said is the responsibility of everyone to correct.

Ms Kamya said it is not only the responsibility of the government institutions to fight corruption but everyone’s responsibility if the vice is to be defeated.

“Previously, the war against corruption was largely thought to be a war that must be fought by anti-corruption agencies, while citizens were largely observers and at best commentators. But we changed strategies. Last year we launched a new campaign where citizens must own the war against corruption because it is their war, because it is their money they are stealing, because they are the ones being denied public services and because they are the victims of corruption,” Ms Kamya said during a media breakfast with the IGG in Kampala yesterday.

She added: “Behind every corruption incident is a breakdown in the system. Corruption doesn’t just fall from heaven or doesn’t just happen. So, our various mandates all aim to protect the integrity of our systems that are established by law. And if each one of these institutions can achieve their mandate, then we would have denied the corruption room to be conceived and even to be birthed.”

Ms Kamya lauded the media for playing a big role in the fight against corruption, including taking on the “mighty and untouchable”.

“Members of the press, Fourth Estate, you are already generals and very big combatants and we thank you very much for your effort and courage. Sometimes you even take on the high and mighty, where sometimes anti-corruption agencies even fear to act. This morning, we wish to officially propose to you to be our official partners and agree on how this partnership should work,” she said.

Can Dr Pul Maxwell Ogentho, the director of technical services at the office of the Auditor General, said citizens are now at the centre of audits and therefore must take a centre stage in fighting corruption.

Mr Ogentho added that involving the citizens creates ownership in the fight and that their contribution cannot be undervalued.

He also asked the media to work closely with the anti-corruption agencies to fight the vice so that service delivery is improved across the country.

“So the media, our office is encouraging you that please let us become closer so that you get to understand what it means, the processes that we go through, so that you can explain it [to your audiences,” he said.

Mr Benson Turamye, the executive director of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets, said media must pay close attention to the procurement systems in the country because that is where huge chunks of the budget is channelled, which is prone to corruption.

He added that his office is ready to work closely with media to ensure that all procurement plans are made public and the media can scrutinise them.

“When you see delay in evaluation of bids, announcement and other things, question them because that is where people negotiate corruption deals. We shall make all the procurement plans of government agencies public for you to know where corruption is likely to take place,” he said.