The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr Simon Lokodo, has accused leaders of trying to cripple and abuse the Whistleblowers Act 2010 by intimidating people wishing to volunteer information regarding suspected corruption cases.
Addressing Nakaseke and Luweero district leaders at a workshop last Friday, Fr Lokodo said some people in influential positions linked to corrupt tendencies have made it difficult to enforce the law.
“It is unfortunate that the Whistleblowers law in Uganda has now been abused… Threats and intimidation are some tools corrupt people use to ensure that they are safe and walk away with their evil deeds,” he said.
“When money meant for a project is embezzled, people pay less attention because they think the funds lost belong to government. It is only when we realise that we all bear responsibility in fighting corruption that we shall move to stamp out corruption which has become a cancer,” Fr Lokodo added.
He cited different corruption scandals which have rocked the country, including the recent Katosi road project where government could have paid Shs24.7 billion for the construction to a fictitious company.
The minister said although the country has an excellent legal framework to fight corruption, it has been watered down by apathy.
“Suspects have taken aantage of people who do not want to provide evidence in courts. The cases are easily dismissed because of lack of evidence,” Fr Lokodo said.
“Relevant amendments are being considered, including confiscation of properties to recover lost funds for people convicted of corruption and causing financial loss,” he added.
Luweero LC5 chairperson Abdul Nadduli called for fairness while using the law, saying in some cases, suspects are treated unfairly.
what act says
The Act states that a whistle-blower shall be given 5 per cent of the money recovered as a reward for the disclosure and the money is meant to be paid within six months after it is recovered.
It also provides for a five-year jail term for anyone who reveals the identity of a whistle-blower. The Act also guarantees the whistle-blower’s job and protects them from victimisation. However, if a whistle-blower is found to be lying, they will serve five years in prison as well.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor