Kamya explains why it is hard to catch ‘big fish’ in corruption

Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya.  PHOTO / FILE. 

What you need to know:

  • Ms Kamya said  her tenure won’t see anyone get preferential treatment.

The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, has said it is hard for investigators to catch high-profile corrupt government officials because they don’t leave behind paper trails.

Ms Kamya said the so-called “big fish” know how to cover their tracks, and that “ you can never catch them signing cheques or signing for money.”

The IGG made the revelation at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala yesterday while responding to complaints from the public on why the inspectorate and other government anti-corruption agencies end up targeting low-profile personalities.

The ombudsman, however, added that the inspectorate is considering using the lifestyle audit to rein in corruption.

“The lifestyle audit will help us catch them because once people see their unexplained wealth, then they will be able to tip us and that is why we are calling upon all Ugandans to alert us,” she said.

Lifestyle audits, also known as lifestyle checks or lifestyle monitoring, are an accountability tool that can be used to detect and prevent corruption. 

Such audits are typically conducted when the visible lifestyle or standard of living of an individual appears to exceed their known income level.

The IGG noted that the President will officially launch the lifestyles audit campaign during the International Anti-Corruption Day scheduled for December 9.

The United Nations General Assembly designated December 9 as the International Anti-Corruption Day for global observance to promote awareness about the dangers of corruption and set strategies to eliminate it.

Uganda will join the rest of the world to commemorate the day under the theme: “Promoting Active Citizen Participation in Social Accountability.”

Ms Kamya said Usalama (peace) radio drama series have been aired countrywide on 13 radio stations in English, Luo, Lumasaba, Ateso, Lugbara, Luganda, Runyakitara, Lusoga and Nga’karimojong ahead of the day.

The drama is intended to influence listeners to choose lifestyles and attitudes that strengthen social values against corruption.
In October,  First Lady Janet Museveni, as national champion of the Ambassadors for Integrity launched the Anti-Corruption campaign 2021/2022.

The ombudsman also said all days of worship preceding December 9 will be used by clerics to tailor their messages around the prevalence of corruption in Uganda and its negative impact.

Ms Kamya said  her tenure won’t see anyone get preferential treatment.

“[President Museveni] gave me the job to arrest the corrupt and he has spoken against corruption several times. I have never seen him stop me from investigating officials allegedly involved in corruption,” she said.

Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, reiterated Ms Kamya’s comments that the President does not shield corrupt officials.

“I work in the State House and I have never seen officials coming to the President to be protected. I investigated at least four presidential advisers and some of them were prosecuted,” she said.

Col Nakalema added that Resident District Commissioners have been arraigned in court over the same.

In 2019, former IGG Justice Irene Mulyagonja said many corrupt officials “hide behind the back of President Museveni.”

Justice Mulyagonja said these officials use their State House connections to defeat or escape justice.

Her remarks came after the President used his State-of-the-Nation-Address to question the effectiveness of the inspectorate.
Consequently, President Museveni announced an alternative unit under his office, which is currently headed by Col Nakalema. 

The unit has, however, often had its legitimacy called into question.

Col Nakalema said it deals with 300 complaints on a daily basis.
The ombudsman said it will take a concerted effort to defeat corruption, especially in light of revelation in a recent GIZ survey that Uganda loses at least Shs10 trillion to corruption.

The executive director of Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets, Mr Benson Turamye, said the government is automating the procurement processes in all government agencies to mitigate corruption.