Friday, October 2, 2009



Thursday, 1st October, 2009
By Milton Olupot

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has sent another stern warning to the corrupt in his government, saying there will be no mercy for civil servants who swindle public funds.

Addressing ministers and permanent secretaries during a Cabinet retreat yesterday, the President said he already had enough evidence on corruption of high-profile officials and they would soon be arrested.

“We have sent a lot of money to all the sectors, to the local governments, but the money is stolen with the complicity of the civil servants, including the accounting officers,” Museveni said.
“Now I have time and I have come into the middle of these high-class thieves. Soon you will hear about the casualties. I have already set up systems here and there, traps, to catch them.”

The President cited roads, health, agriculture and education as sectors pervaded by massive corruption.
“A road which would be constructed at sh100m is put at sh400m. Deliberate theft! Those involved will pay! People who have been stealing drugs are already in the net. You will hear about them.”

He announced that a judicial commission of inquiry had been set up in the education ministry to probe shoddy work by construction companies, ghost teachers and students, as well as absentee teachers.

On agriculture, Museveni accused officials of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) of misappropriating public funds and inflating inputs.

“NAADS officials approve companies to tender cow dung and grass, just to steal money. What sort of officer can approve this? Is this person fit to be in public service? Why should such a person be on the payroll of the Government?”

The two-day retreat at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala is meant to evaluate the report of the poverty eradication action plan and draft a new national development plan.

The President was infuriated that government efforts to eradicate poverty and improve livelihoods were undermined by what he called cancerous corruption that had eaten into government departments.
The poverty eradication plan was launched in 1997 and expired in June 2008. It was extended for another year to give time for a national development plan to be designed.

In his address, Prime Minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi said his office was investigating the cause of the high drop-out of UPE beneficiaries.
He called for inter-ministerial cooperation to find a solution to the problem.

He said research done by his office had revealed that despite progress in the provision of agricultural services, the number of households that are food secure had dropped to 40% in March 2009, down from 60% in July 2008.

“The trend is worrying,” he commented.
He also said in spite of increased enrolment in primary education, literacy levels had declined in both P3 and P6 and completion levels stood at just 49%.
The level of malnutrition among children under five had doubled, from 23% to 42%, according to the premier. He added that 60% of the urban population lives in slums.

The retreat is also attended by the Vice-President, the First Lady and government organs such as the Uganda Investment Authority, the Uganda Revenue Authority and the National Planning Authority as well as the Uganda Manufacturers Association.