IGG ‘Lifestyle audit’ takes war on corruption to the people

“What about the revelation of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) that they plan to traumatize primary school going children into informants for the state against their parents – as in spy and tell on their parents, on what research is this strategy based? Read more …

The concerns that I had in 2021, with regards to the IGG’s “lifestyle audit,” remain valid today, at least as far as expecting children to snitch on their parents, so to speak. However, the speech that IGG Hon. Betty Namisango Kamya gave during the National Debate Council’s National Student’s Anti-Corruption Challenge, on 30th March 2023, at PPDA Towers, has enlightened me somewhat.

I can now better appreciate the intent of the IGG “lifestyle audit” in its quest to “take the war on corruption to the people.” IGG Kamya has persuaded me to see value in the need to invest in nurturing the attitude among us all Ugandans of “I am an IGG within my space” and it is my role to “unmask corruption.”

I appreciated IGG Kamya’s logic that it is often better strategic use of resources to go for the ‘smaller fish’, in order to hopefully eventually catch the ‘bigger fish’. The reality, according to IGG Kamya, is that it is often the case that the “‘big fish’ don’t sign.” They verbally deploy their ‘assistants’ or ‘agents’ – the ‘small fish’ to “go to so and so, collect and bring me such and such.” Of course, when the ‘small fish’ get to the collection point, they must sign for whatever it is they are collecting for the ‘big fish’.

To legally prove corruption in a court of law, it is the person who signed that is held accountable. Plenty of scandals in which this assertion is supported, such as for example, in the past, the Gavi Fund scandal, when in his defence Hon. Captain Mike Mukula testified that he had given Gavi fund money to the Office of the First Lady, on the basis of a verbal request from First Lady Janet Museveni.

Presently, similar situations are awash in the press, case in point, with regard to the Karamoja Iron Sheets scandal. Persons holding high ranking positions in the different arms of government are either confirming making the verbal requests for irons sheets, but then denying that their requests targeted the iron sheets for Karamoja.

In the alternative, some of the ‘big fish’ are flat out denying that they made the requests in the first place and claim not knowing how the iron sheets allocated to Karamoja ended up in their constituencies not in Karamoja; moreover, in some cases, on their private property.

“I got a call that iron sheets have been brought and when they were taken, I said give it to this school. Little did I know that the iron sheets were meant for Karamoja region, but after thorough analysis that the iron sheets were meant for Karamoja not Bukedea, I have taken a personal decision that since it was not allocated to the district, but also the iron sheets were already given out, I have decided to buy 500 iron sheets and give it back.”

Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among

In which case, without the paper trail and or recordings of the verbal requests, the ‘small fish’ have the burden of proving that it is the ‘big fish’ who asked them to break the law. That is the challenge departments charged with fighting corruption have. Hence, the IGG lifestyle audit becomes valuable as an alternative way to prove corruption. If you get away with it at point of acquisition, you could get caught at point of consumption or expenditure.

Taking the war on corruption to the people then becomes vital, according to IGG Kamya, because it is the people who know each other and are able to see probable corruption consumption or expenditure. And so, she makes a plea that at every opportunity, people in leadership should “explain to the people how corruption hurts them,” to the extent that people may appreciate that the ‘rich neighbour’ may have become rich at their expense.

“You take your loved one to hospital, they die because medicine was not bought, they have died because of corruption. You take your loved one to hospital, they are treated by an unqualified persons who holds forged documents – the ‘Nasser certificates’, they die because of corruption. And then in some cases, the “thief buys the coffin and you hail him a hero,” lamented IGG Kamya.

These are the kinds of real life scenarios that IGG Kamya advocates explained to the people, so that they may truly understand how corruption works; and it may “work up enough anger” for people to blow the whistle on the corrupt and or to shun the corrupt.

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