‘State House’ investigations on IGG long overdue

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IGG Irene Mulyagonja

By Kagenyi Lukka

The news that Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of the feared State House Anti-Corruption Unit, will soon launch a special investigation into a litany of allegations fronted by various whistle-blowers on Justice Irene Mulyangoja, the Inspectorate of Government, is a welcome venture.

Under this episode of ‘when a hunter becomes hunted’, we expect Nakalema not to leave any stone unturned, especially when it comes to the way Mulyangoja has been conducting business.

From the way she handled investigations at the Central Bank, especially the failure to probe corruption allegations labelled against the Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda, Dr. Louis Kasekende, and former Central Bank’s director supervision, Justine Bagyenda, to her failure to prosecute high ranking officials in Government, everyone, including the person that appointed her IGG, has been wondering: What happened to Mulyangoja.

For instance, during his State of the Nation address to Parliament last year, President Yoweri Museveni said: “What happened to the IGG? Why don’t the victims of corruption report those incidents to the office of the IGG? That was the purpose of that office; to protect the public from corrupt officials; to protect the investors against corrupt officials. The IGG should reflect on this. Are her staff credible? Why does the public not trust that institution? We need answers.”

Indeed, what happened to this IGG, who upon appointment in 2012, was lauded as a feisty, diligent and thorough refined lady whose pedigree as a good judge would send the corrupt shaking out of their hidden cartels and dark tunnels?

That as the country’s fourth IGG since 1986, following into bigger shoes of Augustine Ruzindana, Jotham Tumwesigye and Justice Faith Mwonda, everyone thought that Mulyagonja would make a stellar difference during her tenure as Ombudsman.

But seven years later, we are back at square one. To borrow the words of Justice JB Katusi, the IGG can only show “small fish”, and she has left the big fish to swim freely, despite repeated clues.

The IGG, under Chapter 13 of the 1995 Constitution, also has powers to investigate and prosecute, but like many people have pointed out, she uses her mandate under the Constitution selectively.

However, like old adage goes, time is the best equalizer. Whistle blowers have come to haunt the IGG.

In their petition to Nakalema, the IGG staff want the Anti- Corruption Unit, to probe corruption claims at the IGG’s office, illegal recruitments, failure to confirm existing acting staff and a wide range of other issues related to abuse of office.

The other allegation that whistle blowers have noted in their petition dated March 3, 2019, is to the effect that contrary to public service standing orders, the IGG has kept regional officers on acting capacity for  over three years, a clear abuse of office.

It therefore follows that the probe by State House, will enable the public to understand the hidden operations of the IGG and the missing gaps therein, that have made the office toothless at the expense of tax payers’ money.

The probe will also help the country establish why the IGG, during her seven-year tenure, has been selective in her application of justice and probe into graft.

Why, for instance, didn’t she leave no stone unturned, during her probe into the allegations of corruption and abuse of office at the Central Bank?

So, could the Nakalema probe, be the saviour that the public has been waiting for in order to achieve the much needed justice?

Well, the jury is still out!!

The writer is an aspiring MP Ikiiki County Budaka District.

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