President Yoweri Museveni has appointed Lt Col Edith Nakalema head of the new State House anti corruption unit. Unveiling her to the people during a ceremony to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala yesterday, Museveni said Nakalema would constitute a team to work with to receive reports about corruption from the public.
As he started his address, the President said the public is no longer interested in long speeches about corruption, but the casual ties inflicted over corruption. He then launched into a historical account of what he called Uganda’s past problems, before revealing Nakalema’s new appointment.
“This lady has fire. I have set up an office for her. They have a toll-free line (0800202500) and a website. But she should be careful about the people she will choose to work with because they could be infiltrated by weevils,” he said.
Museveni said Nakalema and her team would not take over the functions of the Inspector General of Government (IGG), but work with the ombudsman in what he called a renewed fight against corruption.
“They will not be doing the work of the IGG. They should receive reports which should have been received by those institutions, but did not and then pursue those cases. Let the IGG and the CID (Criminal Investigations Directorate) continue to investigate,”
Nakalema, Museveni said, would be his ‘eye’ in the anti-corruption fight, adding that by creating a new unit, he is adding fuel to the fire against graft. Museveni also said the legal framework would be buttressed to enable the authorities confiscate the property of the corrupt to recover all the money which courts have previously ordered be retrieved from people convicted of corruption.
“There is some money the courts have said should be recovered from corrupt people, but no one is following it up. I am also going to work with the Chief Justice and Speaker of Parliament to get rid of corruption in the Judiciary and Parliament,” he added.
The President said the public had lost hope in reporting corruption cases because of the inaction of the relevant agencies.
Museveni reiterated that Uganda was grappling with seven problems when he seized power in 1986; extrajudicial killings, extortion by the military at roadblocks, poaching, encroachment on wetlands and forest reserves,embezzlement, bribery and nepotism.
“Poaching, extrajudicial killings and extortion by the army have been addressed, but the traffic Police continue to extort money from motorists,”
“Those (traffic Police) are the new parasites on the road.The nonsense of the Police arresting people for being idle and disorderly should also stop. How do you arrest someone in their country for being idle and disorderly? That nonsense should stop,” Museveni ordered.
He said the civil servants supposed to protect public funds from being stolen are the permanent secretaries, chief administrative officers,town clerks and sub-county chiefs.
“These are the people I will be going for the next time I hear about corruption. But I do not want a terrified civil service. People who are doing their job properly will have no problem. But those who are tired should be replaced,” Museveni added.