The Head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema over the weekend advised a freshly recruited team of tax officials from the Uganda Revenue Authority to openly name and shame public officials enticing them with bribes and luring them with money in order to evade paying taxes.
Nakalema was speaking to the URA participants at the National Leadership Institute (NALI) in Kyankwanzi where the over 250 new recruits have been undergoing leadership training for the last two months with their passout slated for 01st October, 2020.
In attendance at the presentation was the new URA Commissioner General, John Musinguzi Rujoki as well as the NALI Director, Brigadier General David Kasura Kyomukama who welcomed the two top government officials to the Institute.
Presenting a paper titled ‘Impact of corruption on national development’, Nakalema told the URA officials that the national development agenda and target for 2040 worked towards having a corrupt-free country.
“We need to understand how endemic corruption is to our nation and fight it. Corruption has slowed down our development priorities and this hurts our economic growth,” she said.
Sectors most affected by corruption
In her presentation, Col. Nakalema named the top five sectors that had been plagued by corruption as; Police & Security Forces, the Judiciary, Natural Resources, Public Procurement and Tax Administration.
Nakalema divulged that over 38% of Ugandans had paid a bribe before in order to access a service.
236 public officials investigated over corruption
Nakalema said in just one year and nine months of having been appointed to office, 236 public officials had been investigated and passed on to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecution.
“We thank the public who continue to expose corrupt officials through our hotlines. Together, we know we can end this vice if we all collaborated,” Nakalema said.
The anti – corruption Tzar added that Uganda had moved positions in Transparency International ranking of corruption saying the 2019 ranking placed Uganda at 137th least corrupt country among the 180 ranked nations world-wide.
Honesty is good leadership
Col. Nakalema further cited the drivers of corruption as; lack of tax paying culture, complex laws and regulations, weak capacity of tax administration and the low probability of detection and punishment.
She added that under Article 17 of the constitution sub-section 1 mandated every citizen to combat corrupt and stop any graft related practices. ‘It is your duty as a citizen to ensure that you fight or don’t involved in corruption’ She said.
Nakalema added that under the law, they investigate all perpetrators of the vice including those offering bribes and those on the receiving end.
“If you are loyal, religious and clean, you will get noticed. President Museveni picked me up without knowing much about me because he had been told about my integrity. The President also picked other very smart people like former KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Namusisi and former URA Commissioner General and now UNRA ED Allen Kagina among the league honest leaders. You should emulate them”, She said.
Nakalema told the URA participants on the leadership course to be accountable to the public. ‘You are here to serve the people. Do it diligently and with honesty. The public expects you to serve them and to remain accountable’ Nakalema said.
She further advised them to keep integrity as a pillar of their service adding that the State House Anti-corruption was working with other stakeholders to make structural reforms that would plug all holes corruption related.