President Museveni should take “administrative action” against ministers named in abuse of Chogm funds, the World Bank country chief said yesterday.
Ms Kadiresan Kundavi said the government does not have to wait for long court processes to act against those named in corruption. “We would like to see administrative action taken as Parliament continues to debate the report,” Ms Kundavi said in reference to the parliamentary findings on alleged corruption in the procurement processes for the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
The administrative action, she said, could include suspension, dismissal and compelling guilty officials to return money stolen from public coffers. “Administrative measures should be instituted while for those in the private sector they can be compelled to return the money they took,” added Ms Kundavi. She made the comments during the launch of the first annual corruption report by the Inspector General of Government in Kampala yesterday.
State House officials were not available for comment yesterday but Mr John Nagenda, a senior presidential adviser, said it “would not do any harm for the President to wait for the conclusion of the parliamentary debate before he takes action”.
“The President doesn’t do things in a hurry, as any good commander would do. I am worried the same person asking why the President is not taking action, would ask the same question if the president acted before parliament concluded the debate,” Mr Nagenda said by telephone.
There has been renewed public concern over Chogm after MPs last week began debating the report that accuses senior government officials, including at least eight ministers, of abuse of mainly procurement procedures and causing financial losses.
Some MPs last week said the manner in which the discussions were being conducted was aimed at getting the suspects off the hook, but Speaker Edward Ssekandi, who is overseeing the process, denies any foul play. Recently, the British government announced that it would cut Shs27b in aid due to unsatisfactory progress on investigating senior ministers named in the Chogm mess.
Ms Kundavi said Ugandans should put pressure on the government to act on corruption rather than wait for development partners to ask the questions. IGG Raphael Baku said his investigations into the Chogm fraud will be complete in December, but added that available evidence so far can support prosecution of those implicated.
The report released yesterday shows that corruption is still rampant because no action is taken against suspects. According to the report, a lack of dedication to enforce systems that have been established to fight graft was encouraging the corrupt to act with impunity.
The report says Uganda is one of the weakest in the world as far as implementation of anti-corruption laws is concerned