President Yoweri Museveni has Monday launched a new Anti-corruption Unit under the Office of the President which will receive and act on complaints relating to corruption.
The new Unit will be headed by the President’s former aide, Lt Col Edith Nakalema who graduated in August from the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, in Watchfield, Oxfordshire, U.K.
Museveni said the Unit is the “missing link” in government’s efforts to weed out corruption which has over the years stalled service delivery.
“I decided to reinforce the IGG’s Office. The institutions to fight corruption are there but the people manning them are the problem. These departments have been infiltrated by weevils,” the President told hundreds of people who gathered at the Kololo Independence grounds for the Anti-corruption Day celebrations.
“There was a missing link. I needed an office headed by a fearless, upright, a bit quarrelsome, a bit talkative person. To think Nakalema can conceal a wrong, that is very impossible,” Museveni later told a news conference at his Office where the Unit will operate.
He said that unlike the IGG’s Office where whistleblowers were required to appear physically to lodge complaints, the new Unit will have a provision of taking phone calls and text messages. The whistleblower can choose to reveal their identity or not, Museveni said.
The calls are recorded automatically and the supervisor of the Unit can graphically track the volume of calls coming in, in real time.
Callers will use the toll free helpline 0800202500 and send text messages to 0778202500.
Museveni further justified the creation of the Unit saying that the confidence among Ugandans in the existing Anti-corruption institutions such as IGG’s Office and Police’s CID had been eroded.
“There was a lot of skepticism. I know this from the public. When I ask them, they tell me whenever they go to the IGG or CID, the people they report to are the same people likely to expose them,” Museveni said.
“Whistleblowers are mishandled either deliberately or on account of the poor attitude towards work”.
Meanwhile the President sounded a warning to the Permanent Secretaries in Ministries, Chief Administrative Officers, Town Clerks and Sub-county Chiefs who he said are the chief accounting officers of public funds.
“If I hear any reports of corruption, I won’t go any further. These are the people I will go for”.
He said that sacking negligent and corrupt public servants will nolonger be a problem since Uganda has a vast number of qualified persons from whom to pick civil servants.
Lt Col Edith Nakalema, a serving military officer, worked in the finance department of the Special Forces Command (SFC) until 2014 when she was appointed as private secretary for secretarial duties to President Museveni.