Kampala. Government has interdicted 14 district and municipal officials over allegations of corruption.
Two officials from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), who were recently arrested for soliciting bribes, and a court clerk at Nabweru Magistrate’s Court, have also been suspended from office, bringing the total number to 17.
The interdicted officials were arrested between December 20, 2018, and February 27, 2019, from different parts of the country.
While announcing the interdiction yesterday at the Uganda Media Centre, Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the government spokesperson, said they had to make the interdictions public to prevent the affected officers from remaining in offices and pretending to continue working when they are supposed to be out of office.
“Apart from the prosecutions that are going on in the courts of law, we have now received letters of interdiction from the permanent secretaries in the Ministry of Local Government and from that of Lands ministry. So all the 17 officers that have appeared before the anti-corruption court have all been interdicted. We wanted to report these interdictions so that those officers don’t hide within the districts and among the community and pretend as if nothing has happened,” he said.
Mr. Opondo said the State House Anti-Corruption Unit has started biting and will continue until corruption becomes too costly for the perpetrators.
He said on daily basis, the unit receives 237 cases and that most of the cases are those that have been reported elsewhere, but no action taken.
“In many cases, people are repeating what they have reported elsewhere to other anti-corruption agencies. But it appears the system of anti-corruption in this country is not as responsive as it should be and consequently this unit is getting a lot of traffic,” Mr Opondo said.
He also said the fact that some interdicted officials have gone to court is a clear indication that the war against corruption is a protracted one, noting that the government will not be derailed by such actions.
“We don’t want the corrupt and their networks to attempt to divert or to undermine or to challenge our efforts of fighting corruption. We expect the corrupt to fight back. Our job should be to try and disrupt their corrupt activities, where possible try and apprehend them before prosecutions.” he said.
Following their arraignment at the Anti-Corruption Court, the permanent secretaries of Local Government ministry, Mr Ben Kumumanya, and that of the Lands ministry, Ms Dorcus Okalany, moved swiftly and interdicted the implicated officers.
“As you are aware, you were arrested by the police on 22nd February 2019 and arraigned in the Anti-Corruption Court on 28th February 2019 on the charges of abuse of office contrary to Section 11 (1) and (2) of the Anticorruption Act 2009 vide criminal case number E060/2019. In addition, the criminal case against you makes your conduct, if proven in court as a public officer to fall short of the expected standards and is culpable because it contravenes sections section f-s of the Uganda public service standing order. …in view of the above and in accordance with sections f-s (8) of Uganda public service standing order 2010, you are hereby interdicted from duty with immediate effect to pave way for the investigation,” part of the letter addressed to Mr Felix Chubert Esoku, signed by the Permanent Secretary ministry of local government reads.
Similar letters were also sent to officials from a local government ministry, that of lands, housing, and urban development, Uganda Revenue Authority and the court clerk.
Mr Opondo said all those arrested are facing charges of diversion of government funds, embezzlements, misuse of funds and fraudulent accountability of government funds.
The arrested include; Mr. Mwanje Andrew, Ms Doreen Mpumwire-data entry clerk, Ms Katushabe Monica, Mr. Jaffery Bakalaze and Mr. Herbert Kavuma the senior physical planner who was arrested red-handed soliciting a bribe from a citizen, from Wakiso, Mr. Akuma Muzamil -the Tororo Municipality town clerk, Denis Okatch -Municipal Engineer and Mr. Etuku Ejolu Shadrack- Roads Inspector.
Others are; Mr. Erejo Kamil Rajab - Municipality treasurer and Mr. Kasajja Kayiru- former town clerk. In Mbarara, Mr Chuthbert Esoku, the CAO, Godlive Nayebare, senior land management officer Karuhanga Rosalia, the human resource officer and Mr Himbisa Emmanuel a senior land management office.
From Uganda Revenue Authority, Hassan Miiro and Ferdinand Albaker Wamala were pick while Ms. Namakula Sarah, a court clerk fom Nabweru magistrate’s court was picked for soliciting Shs2m bribe to fast track the bail hearing for the two.