Saturday, May 9, 2009

Corruption- Uganda's perspective Part 1

Corruption may be defined as any conduct which amounts to: influencing the decision-making process of a public officer or authority, or influence peddling; • dishonesty or breach of trust, by a public officer, in the exercise of his duty; • insider dealing/conflicts of interests; [and] • Influence peddling by the use of fraudulent means such as bribery, blackmail, which includes the use of election fraud. • Any person, who directly or indirectly accepts, agrees or offers to accept any gratification from any other person to benefit him/herself or any other person is guilty of the crime of corruption. The person who makes the offer or inducement to another to commit a corrupt practice is also guilty of the crime of corruption. Although there is an active and a passive side to the crime, both parties are equally guilty of corruption. Oxford English Dictionary- Corruption Guilty of dishonest practices, (such) as bribery; without integrity; debased in character; depraved; perverted; crooked; wicked; evil; decayed; putrid; infected; tainted. Applies to one, especially in public office, who acts on mercenary motives, without regard to honour, right or justice.In Uganda lInspectorate of Government Act 2002 defines corruption as the abuse of office for private gain and includes but is not limited to embezzlement, bribery, nepotism, influence peddling, theft of public funds or assets, fraud, forgery, causing financial loss or property loss or false accounting in public affairs.

Although Uganda boasts of a robust legal and policy framework, the vice has continued to affect growth and development. According to the NIS (2008) the Police , Judiciary were cited among the most corrupt institutions. lSocial sectors are the most affected including procurement process According to the survey on people’s perception on corruption conducted by the Steadman Group in December 2007[1], ‘ The common forms of corruption are taking bribes, (63%), tribalism (47%), nepotism (26%) and favoritism (21%). Other forms of corruption include giving bribes to influence the award of Government contracts (21%), looting by Government officials (19%) and taking commissions (12%) ’. [2]It is worrying that the most common form of corruption is the payment of bribes to facilitate getting services, since in most cases, these are public essential services like water and health which should be free and protected as human rights.
[1] Steadman Group in December 2007; public perception of corruption in Uganda [2] Ibid

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