Tension has erupted in key government ministries and agencies after the president’s declaration of war on corruption.
According to State House, President Museveni will on December 10 address the nation about his next war on corruption among government ministries and agencies which has cost government trust among the populace and the international funders.
“The President will on Monday 10th launch the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and address the nation on new measures he will undertake to fight corruption “Brief statement from State House reads.
Sources say the Anti- Corruption team will target key government ministries including the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic development and the bank of Uganda which the president recently said are infested with “bean weevils”.
This comes after the president also declined to save officials from bank of Uganda from being investigated by a committee of parliament which is investigating the controversial sale of seven defunct banks.
Pleas to save the corrupt officials at Central bank from being investigated had been brought by finance minister Matia Kasaija and supported by NRM Chief Whip in parliament Hon Ruth Nankabirwa during the Monday cabinet meeting chaired by the president at State House.
However, the president declined to save them from being probed without protection saying that he told them not to close Crane Bank but they did not listen to him.
Last year, the president while meeting the governor bank of Uganda Emmanuel Mutebile asked him ‘sort’ out ‘thieves’ at Bank of Uganda.
A tough talking Museveni told Mutebile that BoU had performed well but the emerging reports that individuals at the central bank had amassed wealth were disturbing adding that such individuals should be fished out.
Museveni who seemed to have equipped himself well with the current literature on the central bank argued that corruption at the bank could easily manipulate staff not to perform their duties as they are compromised by the sector the supervise.
It is against this background that the current probe by the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase)has established that former director supervision Justine Bagyenda connived with outgoing Dfcu bank managing director Juma Kisaame to sale defunct GTB bank of Uganda to dfcu group.
The committee has since learnt that Bagyenda signed the agreement document with Kisaame after sharing the confidential information of Global Trust Bank with him, which violates Section 40 of BoU Act.
Discussions had been going on between BoU and potential buyers (Dfcu Bank).
With the raging over the extraordinary scale of corruption, Museveni last year further described the Finance ministry which supervises bank of Uganda also a den of thieves as “a ministry of thieves”.
The ‘furious’ Museveni who was chairing a cabinet meeting castigated Finance ministry officials, accusing them of failing to check corruption, and particularly singled out Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi for running “a ministry of thieves”.
It is worth to note that it is the same minister Kasaija who is asking the president to shield the corrupt from being investigated.
The president narrated how his men caught the two Finance ministry officials (Mr Charles Ogol, the principal finance officer, and Mr Geoffrey Turyamuhika, a senior economist) red-handed, pocketing $60,000 (about Shs216m) from Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group (U) Company.
He said this amount was “just a deposit” and that the total bribe was in excess of Shs15b. This money, according to sources, was to be shared by at least five officials in ministries of Finance and Energy.
The president is also angered by thieves at the Uganda Revenue Authority also under direct supervision of ministry of finance.
In august this year, he ordered for the suspension of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) officials for “frustrating” Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Limited officials by reportedly refusing to clear their machinery at customs.
Dongsong is the Chinese company developing the Osukulu industrial complex in Tororo District.
He specifically singled out one URA staff Geoffrey Olaka whom he ordered to be suspended forthwith, together with other staff found to be culpable.
Olaka out of corruption had been tossing the Chinese investors endlessly—in this case for the whole of July 2018.
Museveni on Tuesday during celebrations to mark 25 years of Transparency International at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala said that before he went to the bush, corruption was among the problems affecting the country, adding that when they captured power in 1986, they focused on overhauling the army and left other government institutions and departments like the civil service.
“Of course there was a problem of remuneration but remuneration cannot replace integrity because some of the areas where there are problems, people are well remunerated like URA they did very good salaries so why would you have corruption there”
He added “Bank of Uganda there is corruption there, so there is Kawukumi there now, there is mungwe (bean weevils), gradually Kawukumi has come in now so remuneration is not the cure, and the cure is patriotism first”.
Many people have since blamed President Museveni of not having the will to fight corruption adding that his government thrives on corruption.
He however noted that whoever says that he does not have the will to fight corruption is wrong and deserves to be taken to the mental facility in Butabika.
“I can’t start persecuting them (corrupt civil servants) without following the law. I can’t start terrorizing people now “
Museveni said that he now has medicine for corruption especially among civil servants that he said would soon be applied.
The president noted that the country currently has enough civil servants to replace the corrupt ones adding that since the population is fed up with them, chasing them will now be easy.
“We have given them (civil servants) to expose themselves and the entire population is fed up of them. They will no longer blackmail us, “Museveni noted.
This could lead to the total overhaul of bank of Uganda leadership who are also under investigation by the office of the IGG for being in possession of prime properties in different parts of Kampala obtained under unclear circumstances.
Other anti-corruption crusaders believe that if the president becomes serious with his impending war on corruption by putting in place a credible and well facilitated team with enough security, the country could save trillions of shillings which end up in pockets of greedy individuals in government.
However, the challenge in the fight against corruption in Uganda is persecution of anti-corruption crusaders and other members of civil society by corruption suspects still holding big government officials who use state security apparatus like police and other intelligence organs to open up fake charges on those who talk about their corrupt tendencies with the aim of silencing them.
In Uganda, many anti-corruption activists and journalists have fallen victims of corrupt officials in government who use security most especially police to open up fake cases like defamation and using the infamous Computer Mis Use Act to charge them and imprison them there by scaring away other who would want to write stories about corruption among government officials.