Sunday, July 25, 2010
Recovering money stolen by African thieves is long overdue
President Museveni joins some of the 23 heads of state who are in Kampala for the AU summit. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA.
Donors shouldstop giving us money which they leave to thieves locally. If they want to give us money which isto benefit the locals, more so where we have to pay back, they must incorporate the monitoring aspect ofsuch money. Merely telling us that they are ready to fall up stolen wealth is good but what is better is to seethat loophoes used by local thieves are blocked. These big theives take advantage of the hard currencies we get in form of aid and eat the money as the locals are starved. Time is now tosee that for every project funded, the principle monitoring hand is that of the donor agency or that organisation which has lent the Government. We have seen enough where some of our politicians shamelessly steal money and no body follows them up as if were their God given right to steal these funds. The Globa lFund did it and others should do the same. It is alsoi mportant that those who get to monitor these funds are credible as they can be corrupted by the local thieves hence end upgiving a wrong impression when actually funds were stolen.
US to seize money stolen from Africans - Source: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/964738/-/x2n0sl/-/index.html
By Angelo Izama
Posted Monday, July 26 2010 at 00:00
The United States will not provide a safe haven for money stolen from Africa by its corrupt leaders, US President Barack Obama said yesterday. Addressing at least 23 African leaders attending the African Union summit in Munyonyo, Obama’s Secretary General Eric Holder said Washington would seize money stolen by corrupt leaders and hidden in America and the West.
Mr Holder is part of the American delegation to the Kampala summit led by Mr Johnnie Carson- America’s top diplomat on Africa. In a wide ranging speech which touched on the terror attacks and America’s help to Uganda in Somalia, Mr Holder delivered a stinger on the touchy issue of corruption.
The Kleptocracy recovery effort, he said, would target large-scale corruption perpetrated by foreign nationals. “I have assembled a team of prosecutors [to deal exclusively with this]” he said adding that the US was also willing to support the development of African judiciaries to deal with the monster of corruption. International cooperation over money leaving national treasuries and entering tax havens and western banks- has long been a sticking issue.
The United Nations in 2005 pioneered the Convention Against Corruption- that sought to cast a wider net against criminality across borders. Many African leaders have long been accused of personal extravagance at the expense of their populations- whose excesses like that of former Congolese leader- Mobutu Sese Seko have become legend. Governments in Africa- including Uganda, which lose close to Shs500 billion million in corruption each year, have also been accused of cosmetic attempts at fighting the vice.
For countries like Nigeria however, authorities worked with Switzerland to recover some money stolen by Gen. Sani Abacha. He was accused of stealing £3 billion from government coffers. While the move is a good initiative, it will require a more global effort to solve the problem.
Yesterday Mr Holder, however, promised more support for the African Union force in Somalia saying America was bound “not only by friendship and partnership but loss from the July 11 terrorist attacks in Kampala that also claimed the life of a US citizen.
At least 76 people were killed in the twin attacks at the Kyadondo Rugby grounds in Lugogo and the Ethiopian Village Bar and Restaurant in Kabalagala. Mr Holder said AU forces were making “heroic contributions” on the ground in Somalia and described attempts to justify the attacks as ‘unambiguously shameful”.
Corruption costs sh500b a year - Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/607777
By Milton Olupot
Corruption and ineffective public institutions are still undermining good governance in the country, a report by the African Peer Review Mechanism National Commission has said.
“The World Bank (2005) estimates that Uganda loses about $300m (sh510b) per year through corruption and procurement malpractices,” the 592-pages report notes.
It reckons that the Government would save sh30b annually by eliminating losses from corruption in public procurement alone.
Citing the 2005 Auditor General’s Report, it estimates that 20% of the value of public procurement was lost through corruption, prompted by weak public procurement laws, adding that procurement accounts for 70% of public expenditure.
The Uganda Self-Assessment Report and Programme of Action was yesterday launched by finance state minister Fred Omach at the National Planning Authority offices in Kampala. It is part of an initiative by African countries to assess themselves and each other on issues of democracy and good governance, economic management, corporate governance and socio-economic development.
“Corruption in procurement has adversely impacted on the quality of services meant to improve the quality of life, especially health and education,” says the report, which was presented to the President before it was launched.
“It has influenced death and poverty levels in Uganda. For private firms, the costs of production have been continually high and unpredictable.”
The Government did put up a number of legal and regulatory frameworks to fight corruption, the commission acknowledges. It lists the establishment of the Inspectorate of Government Act, the Leadership Code Act, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act and the Whistle Blower Act.
Despite these measures “the perception is that corruption has not decreased in the public sector”.
Two thirds of respondents believed corruption had increased, according to a 2007 survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. One third even believed it had increased a lot.
In another survey, cited in the report, almost half of the respondents reported that bribes were more frequently demanded today than five years ago.
Central region had the highest number of respondents believing demand for bribes had gone up (50%), while eastern had the lowest (40.3%).
The tendering process has also been prone to abuse, the report notes. Any expenditure in excess of sh5m has to be tendered.
“However, to win a tender, most companies expend a lot of resources including bribes to the district contracts committees.
“This leads to shoddy work, classroom blocks that develop cracks within months and roads that become impassable soon after construction, since any bribes and kickbacks offered to influence the award of the tender have to be recovered by the contractor.”
Corruption, the report says, is caused by weak controls, bureaucracy and personal greed. The root causes of graft are identified as the breakdown of the rule of law, especially in the insurgency areas of the north, poor procurement systems and inadequate legal machinery leading to many cases being lost on technicalities, such as lack of evidence.
Other reasons cited are lack of linkages between the Police, the judiciary and the IGG, lack of technical capacity in public offices to carry out sound management activities, job insecurity and inadequate remuneration.
But the report also points at greed “driven by the insatiable desire for personal gain” and social pressure “where the wealthy are respected, regardless of their moral stand and method of acquisition of their wealth”.
The commission proposes improvement of accountability systems, by punishing the culprits and their collaborators, and strengthening the system of sanctions and rewards for fighting corruption.
On a positive note, the report observes increased enrolment in education with the introduction of universal primary and secondary education. It states that both secondary and tertiary education have benefited from the entry of private operators since the liberalisation of the sector.
The report identifies land as a source of conflict. Inconsistencies in the Land Act have left the tenants with no incentive to invest in the land, it notes.
“Dual and conflicting rights to land and limited access are fuelling disputes and conflict. The assessment determined that there was need to review issues of land and design and implement appropriate policies.”
On corporate governance, the report observes that Uganda is characterised by a largely informal and unregulated sector, with predominantly small, family-owned businesses. It calls the existing company law archaic and calls for new laws to match globalisation.
Environment protection issues are equally raised as an area of concern, particularly on the disposal of industrial waste.
The assessment shows that over the last five years, Uganda has registered significant progress in education, fighting HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation and the status of women.
The report also points out big strides in decentralisation and community participation. It, however, notes a widespread perception that the rapid multiplication of districts has bloated public service expenditure, resulting in less resources being available for social and economic services.
Unemployment, especially among the youth, is also pointed out as an area that needs to be addressed.
The commission, chaired by Prof. Elisha Semakula, conducted 200 expert panel interviews, 96 focus group discussions and 32 public hearings.
The Country Review Mission is due in Uganda from February 3 to 24 to ascertain the extent to which the report reflects the views of the people. Uganda will be reviewed in June this year.