By Simon Turibamwe
We reported at the beginning of March how the IGG, Lt. Col Edith Nakalema’s Anti-Corruption Unit and the Auditor General John Muwanga were undertaking comprehensive inquiry into operations of the Uganda Law Reform Commission (ULRC). This followed whistle blower information that reached the President showing a lot had gone wrong at the Workers House-based Commission. Acting on the President’s prompting, Attorney General William Byaruhanga (who is the direct supervising political authority) had directed ULRC governing board chairperson the incorruptible Vastina Rukimirana to interdict the CEO Lucas Omara Abong and some of the Commissioners to pave way for investigations. The inquiry has since been ongoing and whereas the OAG is about to produce their report, the IGG has opted for a more deepened inquiry that could result into some getting criminally prosecuted in the anti-corruption court. Sources close to the IGG inquiry say that for the last 4 weeks, the IG investigators have been camped at ULRC headquarters where they have been occupying the board room. While there, they have been scrutinizing accountability documents besides summoning and interrogating many of the officers-both suspended and those still at work. Their preliminary findings show that in the last 24 months, more than Shs17bn was expended without proper accountability.
The implicated officers can’t produce basic accountability documents such as receipts. Some of the required documents have quietly been disappearing since December when officials first got wind of what the President was about to do. The head of accounts section has been attributing failure to cooperate by expeditiously volunteering required documents to the IG detectives on the fact that he is one person currently superintending over 4 departments-basically standing in for colleagues out on interdiction. The IG detectives have resorted to obtaining information and some of the documents from employees in whose names cash was expended ostensibly to facilitate field activities that were never undertaken. Lots of cash was also expended under the guise of paying advances which staff that are supposed to have benefited from such advances now say they aren’t aware of. Ironically the IG detectives, who are unusually very keen on this inquiry have resolved to revisit some of the expenditure decisions the external auditors from the OAG had long cleared. “We intend to go deeper to get to the root of the problem,” says a source privy to the IG investigations that are being conducted in close collaboration with the supervising authorities at Attorney General’s chambers. “Nobody is being spared and that’s why even former employees are being interrogated.” There is also the issue of ghost workshops on which colossal sums of money is supposed to have been spent and the IG detectives get the impression that implicated officials are praying for a situation where those interdicted don’t go down alone-but with everybody else at the Commission. (For comments, reach us on email@example.com).