UNPUNISHED CORRUPTION A THREAT TO UGANDA, WARNS PRES MUSEVENI

KAMPALA, Nov 23 — President Yoweri Museveni has warned that if corruption in Uganda goes unchecked and unpunished, it would pose a serious threat to the country.

This was in a speech read for him by the Vice President Edward Sekandi during the opening of the headquarters of the Office of the Auditor General in Kampala.

Vice President Sekandi also unveiled the foundation stone and was led on a guided tour of the ultramodern structure.

The building is located along Apollo Kaggwa road, adjacent to the ministry of finance headquarters.

It covers over 16,000 square metres of space and has an oval shape with 10 floors above ground, and three levels of underground parking space for 150 vehicles.

It was constructed by construction firm Seyani Brothers at a cost of approximately sh59 billion, of which Government of Uganda provided sh52 billion and the rest was provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

In his speech, the President said, “Corruption and maladministration are inconsistent with the rule of law for which we fought and the fundamental values of our constitution. They undermine the constitutional commitment to human dignity, achievement of equality and the advancement of human right and freedoms. If corruption is allowed to go unchecked and unpunished, it will pose a serious threat to our country.”

Museveni said the new office would guarantee independence of Auditor General’s Office which enforces accountability for government resources.

“Having independent offices will save auditors from sitting with people they audit every day, which risks compromising auditors and luring them into corruption,” Museveni noted.

He said that the independence of the Auditor General is a requirement under a UN resolution passed in 2009 to promote efficiency, accountability and effectiveness and transparency by strengthen supreme audit institutions in UN member states.

“It is pleasing to note that Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa and the world which has fully complied with the UN resolution.

This is not an accident, but our deliberate commitment to support institutions responsible for ensuring a corrupt free county,” Museveni said.

The President also directed accounting officers to promptly respond to audit issues, and instructed the minister of finance and permanent secretary to ensure accounting officers address audit queries, with parliament clearing the backlog of audits reports.

John Muwanga the Auditor General said that the construction of the new offices mark a new chapter for the department to ensure delivery of timely audit reports and promote effective public accountability.

Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury said the construction of the Auditor General’s office is part of a wider plan to implement financial management reforms which will also include increasing funding to other accountability agencies.

He said that the agencies to benefit include the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Inspectorate of Government, Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department of Police, and the Anti-Corruption Court.

Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said that government is also going to fund construction of headquarters for the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA), the Road Fund, Uganda Revenue Authority, and the Inspectorate of Government.

“All these are part of the accountability sector institutions. The intention is to establish a government offices park to take care of agencies that don’t have their own offices. The park will be built outside Kampala,” Kiwanuka said.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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