Am doing a desk review for an organisation in Uganda on corruption and this is part of the report that I will submit later for policy review:
The concise Oxford dictionary defines corruption as “moral deterioration or use of corrupt practices esp. bribery or fraud”. In the general terms corruption has also been defined as the abuse of entrusted power by politicians or civil servants for personal gain or for the benefit of a group to which one owes allegiance. However, the working definition by the World Bank is ‘abuse of public office for private gain’.
The former Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Kofi Annan has summed up corruption as “an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies”. That it undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organizes crimes and other threats to human security to flourish.
1.1 International view
Corruption is clearly a very serious problem not only in Uganda but the whole world especially the developing world. The World Bank and Transparency International estimates that Uganda annually loses not less than $500m to corruption! The recent wikileaks has also highlighted the corrosive effects of corruption on Uganda. It has permeated all spheres of life. The belief that it can be practiced with minimum risk has only aggravated the problem. Society has come to accept it as a way of life. There has been general moral decadency. Therefore, the need for a strong, effective and efficient framework to curtail it.
Globally, the United Nations recognized the need to fight corruption which led to the negotiation and signing of the United Nations Convention against corruption in 2003. The African Union followed suit with the signing of African Union Convention on preventing and combating corruption. These two set a global stage for countries like Uganda to effectively fight corruption. They required the party states to domesticate their provisions. Both Conventions stress the importance of accountability in government and the adoption of lawful measures to be taken to expose, combat and eradicate corruption, and abuse of power by holders of public offices. They further recognize the transitional character of corruption in this global village by requiring party states to adopt uniform measures and standards. They widen the definition and scope of corruption.
They provide for mechanisms of seizure and confiscation.
• Definition of corruption is widened
• Laundering of proceeds of corruption is criminalized
• Declaration of assets and liabilities is made a requirement in partner states
• Legislation and implementation of Access to information is required of partner states
• Funding of Political parties is required to be regulated
• Framework for measures to prevent and combat Private sector corruption and encouragement of Private sector to participate in anti corruption is provided for
• Engagement of the civil society in combating corruption
• Provision for seizure and confiscation of properties
• Establishment of preventive measures i.e. policies, laws, institutions and programs
• Development of codes of conducts
• Establishment of fair, transparent, competitive and effective procurement systems
• Public reporting of corruption( Whistle blowing)
• Protection of witnesses, experts and victims
• Protection of whistleblowers