The new Inspector General Government (IGG) needs a lot of prayers if she is to live up to the expectation of Ugandans. There is too much corruption, however, prosecuting those corruption cases many of which are high profile is not a simple game. The office has the challange not only to prosecute but to see to the recovery of stollen funds. Wish Mulyagonja the best. Hopefully, she will live to the vision and mission of her office.
THE MISSION OF INSPECTORATE OF GOVERNMENT
To promote good governance through removal of corruption , mismanagement and administrative injustice from public offices.
MEASURES USED BY IGG TO CARRY OUT ITS FUNCTIONS
IN ITS CONTINUOUS EFFORT TO FIGHT CORRUPTION AND PROMOTE GOOD GOVERNANCE , IGG CONTINUES TO USE TWO PRONGED APPROACH.THESE ARE:
Enforcement Of Leadership Code Of Conduct And;
Investigations Into Cases Of Corruption, Abuse Of Office And Authority And Mal-Administration And Prosecutions Of Officials At Fault.
The government of Uganda attaches a lot of importance to tackling the problem of corruption for it is aware that corruption not only undermines good governance but also retards economic development to which it is committed. By Independence in 1962 Uganda had one of the most promising economies among the former British colonies. However, as a result of mismanagement of national affairs which included gross violation of human rights and the rule of law, especially from 1972 to 1986 during the dictatorship of Idi Amin and Obote 11, economic investment in the country all but ceased resulting in steep economic decline. Insecurity both of person and property gripped the country and corruption became a way of life.
The NRM Government came to power determined to reverse this situation and it has succeeded in doing so. Since 1990 the country had been registering a healthy average economic growth rate of about 6%.
The centre piece of the Government's anti- corruption strategy is the INSPECTORATE OF GOVERNMENT which it established in 1986. When this institution was established it was given the responsibility of protecting and promoting human rights, elimination and fostering the elimination of corruption and abuse of public office and promoting and ensuring adherence to the rule of law and justice in administration. Following the adoption of a new national constitution in 1995 the responsibility for human rights was removed from Inspectorate of Government and given to a new human rights body. However, the Inspectorate of Government was given more extensive powers of investigation, arrest and prosecution in its responsibility of combating corruption and abuse of office. It was also given a new responsibility of enforcing the Leadership Code of Conduct which is not unrelated to its central task of combating corruption.
The Independence of the Inspectorate
Before the adoption of the 1995 constitution the Inspectorate of Government, which was at that time known as the Inspector General of Government, was reporting to the President. In order to give the Inspectorate more autonomy the constitution changed this position. Article 227 of the constitution provides that the Inspectorate "shall be independent in the performance of its functions and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority and shall only be responsible to Parliament". Its six-monthly reports are submitted to Parliament with a copy to the President.
Article 229 of the constitution provides for the Inspectorate to have an independent budget which was not the case before the new constitution was passed. The Inspector-General of Government can only be removed from office by the President for a serious cause and only after a special tribunal set up by Parliament has recommended so. All these provisions are intended to ensure that the Inspectorate performs its responsibilities independently, objectively and impartially. Before the Inspector-General and Deputy Inspector General assume office they separately must swear among other things that they will discharge the functions of the office without fear or favour, affection or ill- will which oath is similar to oaths taken by judicial officers.
Functions of the IGG
Article 225 of the constitution sets out the functions of the Inspectorate and provides as follows:-
"(1) The functions of the Inspectorate of Government shall be prescribed by Parliament and shall include the following:-
(a) to promote and foster strict adherence to the rule of law and principles of natural justice and administration;
(b) to eliminate and foster the elimination of corruption, abuse of authority and of public offices;
(c) to promote fair, efficient and good governance in public offices;
(d) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, to supervise the enforcement of the Leadership Code of conduct;
(e) to investigate any act, omission, advice,decision/ recommendation by a public officer or any other authority to which this article applies, taken, made, given or done in exercise of administrative functions; and
(f) to stimulate public awareness about the values of constitutionalism in general and the activities of its office, in particular, through any media and other means it considers appropriate.
(2). The Inspectorate of Government may investigate any matter referred to in paragraph (e) of clause (1) of this article, on its own initiative or upon complaint made to it by any member of the public, whether or not that person has personally suffered any injustice by reason of that matter".
The Inspector-General of Government Statute was enacted in 1987 before the Constitution was enacted. Apart from the provisions which related to human rights and which are no longer applicable the rest of the Statutory provisions together with the constitution constitute the legal basis of the Inspectorate. Proposals have already been prepared to make necessary changes to the statute in order to bring it into perfect harmony with the Constitution. Even before this is done, however, the statute remains the law applicable to the Inspectorate. Section 7 of the statute relating to the functions of the Inspectorate provides as follows:-
"(1) The Inspector-General is charged with the duty of protecting and promoting the protection of human rights and the rule of law in Uganda, and eliminating and fostering the elimination of corruption and abuse of public offices, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, he shall perform the following functions,
(a) to inquire into allegations of violation of human rights committed against any person in Uganda by a person in a public office, and in particular,
i) the arbitrary deprivation of human life;
ii) the arbitrary arrest and consequent detention without trial;
iii) the denial of a fair and public trail before an impartial and independent court of law;
iv) the subjection of any person to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment; and
v) the unlawful acquisition, possession, damage or destruction of private property.
(b) to inquire into the methods by which law enforcing agents and the state security agencies execute their functions, and the extent to which the practices and procedures employed in the execution of such functions uphold, encourage or interfere with the rule of law in Uganda;
(c) to take necessary measures for the detection and prevention of corruption in public offices and in particular;
i) to examine the practices and procedures of the said offices in order to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices and to secure the revision of methods of work or procedure which, in the opinion of the Inspector-General, may be conducive to corrupt practices;
ii) to advise the said offices on ways and means of preventing corrupt practices and on methods of work or procedures conducive to the effective performance of their duties and which, in the opinion of the Inspector-General, would reduce the incidences of corruption;
iii) to disseminate information on the evil and dangerous effects of corruption on society;
iv) to enlist and foster public support against corrupt practices; and
v) to receive and investigate complaints of alleged and suspected corrupt practices and injustices and make recommendations for appropriate action thereon;
(d) to investigate the conduct of any public officer which may be connected with or conducive to’
i) the abuse of his office or authority;
ii) the neglect of his official duties;
iii) economic mal-practices by the officers; and
"(2) In the performance of his functions under this Statute, the Inspector-General may in addition to receiving complaints from the public, initiate investigations.
"(3) The Inspector-General may in the performance of his duties under this section, investigate into the actions of any person, that may have been done while that person was serving in public office, notwithstanding that at the time of the investigation, such person may have ceased serving in that office."
The constitution under Article 230 gives the Inspectorate power "to investigate, cause investigation, arrest, cause arrest, prosecute or cause prosecution in respect of cases involving corruption, abuse of authority or of public office". The same Article goes further to give the Inspectorate power to enter and inspect the premises or property "of any department of Government, person or any authority" and to examine any documents relating to the case being investigated.
Position of the Inspectorate of Government in Uganda
The Inspectorate is an independent institution charged with the responsibility of eliminating corruption and abuse of office. Because it reports to Parliament and has the function of promoting and ensuring strict adherence to the rule of law and principles of natural justice in administration it is also the national Ombudsman of Uganda.
There are other institutions such as the Auditor general whose functions relate to unearthing financial irregularities or malpractices or Police which can investigate cases of corruption or fraud or the Director of Public Prosecutions who can prosecute any criminal cases including those related to corruption. Indeed when Article 230 of the constitution states that the Inspectorate shall have power to cause investigation or to cause prosecution in respect of cases involving corruption, it has all these institutions in mind.
The framers of the constitution were aware of these institutions. However, they were aware of their limitations and convinced that an independent body specifically charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption and abuse of office was necessary for the country taking into account Uganda’s historical experience. Therefore, the Inspectorate occupies a central position regarding the fight against corruption. It is the anti-corruption institution of Uganda. It is also a complaints office to which any person aggrieved with a decision of a public official or authority takes his or her complaint for redress.
Enforcement of the Leadership Code of Conduct
In addition to the functions outlined above the Inspectorate has the duty of enforcing the Leadership Code. This law which was passed in 1992 requires specified leaders to declare their assets, income and liabilities and prohibits the same leaders from engaging in conduct such as receipt of bribes, gifts, avoiding conflict of interest, misuse of state funds or property, etc. When this law was made, it envisaged a Leadership Code committee to enforce it. However, this committee was never established and when the Constitution was enacted in 1995 it gave under Article 23 and section 6 of the Constitution (Consequential Provisions) Statute, 1996, the responsibility to the Inspectorate.
By Moses Walubiri
Born in 1963, Justice Irene Mulyagonja was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her father, Mulyagonja, was an astute entrepreneur and owner of Kiira Construction Company.
It's this company, according to Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu that first tarmacked the Iganga-Jinja road.
For the normally unforgiving secondary education journey, Mt. St. Mary's Namagunga was her alma mater for both O and A-level before joining Makerere University where she studied law.
She later did her Masters at the University of Zimbabwe. Married to JB Kakooza, the mother of three cut her teeth in legal practice at Mulira & Company Advocates before moving to her own firm.
Appointed a judge of the High Court in 2008, Mulayagonja has been lauded as "feisty, diligent and thorough" by those who have crossed paths with her in the legal fraternity.
"She is a very good judge, perhaps one of the finest on the judicial bench. She is a refined lady with a long history in the judiciary. From private practice, to consultancy, and later as judge, she has had it all.
I think she will make a good Inspector General of Government (IGG)," Katuntu told New Vision online in a telephone interview on Friday.
According to Oyam North MP and lawyer, Ayena Crispus, Justice Mulyagonja is a "nonsense person with a knack for perfection."
"As a professional, she is very good and she is a good choice for such a demanding job," he added.
However, prominent constitutional lawyer, Peter Walubiri, said Mulyagonja's success as IGG will be premised on how best she will carry out the balancing act of handling forces that are incidental to her office.
While acknowledge her grasp of legal matters, Walubiri averred that the inspectorate of government will involve superintending over a number of people whose "susceptibility to getting compromised" she will have no control.
"She is diligent, thorough and ethical, but success will depend on a number of converging forces. These include occasional political meddling, meager resources, and making sure that people investigating and prosecuting cases are not compromised," Walubiri said.
As the fourth IGG since 1986, Mulyagonja will follow in the footsteps of Augustine Ruzindana, Jotham Tumwesigye, and Justice Faith Mwonda.