One of the bodies saddled with the task of promoting transparency and accountability in Uganda's public workforce has issued an ultimatum for leaders to declare their assets or risk sanctions, reports Alfred Olufemi.
The Inspector General of Government (IGG) in Uganda, Beti Kamya, has ordered elected and appointed leaders to publicly declare their wealth in 30 days or face the full wrath of the law. The Inspectorate of Government, which Kamya heads, is constitutionally empowered to eliminate corruption, and abuse of authority and of public office.
Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution and section 4 of the Leadership Code Act require political leaders and appointed leaders to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities every two years. The last declaration was done in March 2021.
"The exercise will run from 1st March 2023 and will close on 31st March, 2023 at midnight. Please take serious note that there is no provision in the law to extend this period," Kamyastated.
According to the Leadership Code Director, Joram Magezi, no fewer than 24 000 leaders are expected to comply. These include elected political leaders like the president, their appointees, permanent secretaries, heads of public institutions, board members of public institutions and executives of registered political parties.
Kamya noted that the declarations will be submitted digitally using the IG-Online Declaration System which will open on 1 March 2023 and close on 31 March 2023 at midnight. Failure to comply, Kamya said, will attract serious sanctions. She also warned against under declaration, over declaration, falsification of facts and anticipatory declaration of income, assets and liabilities.
"Sanctions for breach of the code include fines, warnings, cautions, demotion, dismissal from office, vacation of office, confiscation and forfeiture of illicitly acquired assets, gifts or benefits to the government. Therefore, any leader who will not have declared by March 31 will be in violation of the law," said the official.
The Inspectorate of Government stated in a 2022 report that 3 563 leaders did not promptly declare their assets for the 2021 declaration period.
Former Ethics and Integrity Minister, Simon Lokodo, stated that over 4 000 government officials refused to declare their wealth to the IGG. A tribunal wasset up to go after the defaulters.
Other African nations are also confronted with asset declaration violations.
In Nigeria, a civil society organisation, Egalitarian Mission for Africa,alleged that most defaulters of the Code of Conduct Act that mandates asset declaration, are political office holders. The organisation urged the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, to bring defaulters to book.
In Ghana, Fourth Estate, a local online news medium, exposed how top officials violate the country’s asset declaration law. It revealed that only 50 out 87 of the executives of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s administration had declared their assets.
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