Saturday, September 15, 2012

The fight against Corruption in Uganda

Uganda has several anti-corruption legislations, which criminalize the offering or receipt of bribes, as well as, other forms of corruption with penalties of up to 10 years in prison. The following are some of the legislations that are in place:
• Constitution of Uganda, 1995.
• Penal Code Act (1970)
• Prevention of Corruption Act 1970
• Leadership Code Act 2003
• Public Service Act (2005)
• The Inspectorate of Government Act 2002
• Local Government Act (1997 as amended)
• Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act(2003)
• Access to Information Act 2005, (ATIA)
• Budget Act 2001
• Public Finance and Accountability Act 2003 (PFAA)
• Public Service Standing Orders
• Statistics Act 1998
• National Audit Act, 2008
• Anti Corruption Act(2009)
• Whistle Blower Bill (2010)

The 1995 Constitution provides for Accountability in its National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, under Part XXVI. It provides inter-alia that:
…all public offices shall be held in trust for the people, all persons placed in positions of leadership and responsibility shall, in their work, be answerable to the people, and all lawful measures shall be taken to expose, combat and eradicate corruption and abuse or misuse of power by those holding political or other public offices .

Uganda has also signed and ratified both the United Nations and the African Union conventions against corruption and indeed has in process the following pending legislations related to corruption:
1. Anti Money Laundering Bill (2004)
2. Qui Tam Legislation etc

The Penal Code Act and the Leadership Code Act are currently being amended. Under the Penal Code Act, corruption as a criminal offence currently involves situations where a public official corruptly solicits or receives or agrees to receive a gratification as an inducement to, or reward for doing or omitting to do anything with which the public official is concerned. The Penal Code (1964 and 1987) provides instruments to deal with various corruption offences including embezzlement, causing financial loss, abuse of office, and fraud.

The Leadership Code Act is designed to increase transparency and to curb corruption. It sets out minimum standards of behavior and conduct for leaders and requires leaders to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities. It also criminalizes attempted corruption, active and passive bribery, extortion, bribing a foreign public official, and abuse of office. Uganda is a signatory to both the United Nations and African Union Conventions against corruption. However, the conventions are not yet been domesticated into Ugandan laws.

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