Opinions

THE WAR ON CORRUPTION IS WINNABLE

By Brig. Gen. Isoke Henry

Over the weekend, I assumed office as the Head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, stepping in the shoes of Col. Edith Nakalema, the founding “commander” of the unit who has been at its helm since 2018. I thank H.E the President and Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) for deploying me to this new station that appears unusual to the regular soldier’s deployment.

As officers and patriots, we are multi-skilled, professional, loyal and ever ready to take up any deployment that the Commander-In-Chief finds fit to bestow upon us. I am, therefore, taking up office with much zeal and confidence knowing that the war against corruption is winnable. There is a lot of goodwill from the Commander-In-Chief, and my dear sister and predecessor, Col. Nakalema, has established an excellent precedent and ground for the office.

I wish to specially thank her and her team for setting the pace and registering several achievements in only three years that the Unit has existed. My portion is to build on those achievements. One way to do that is to endeavor to come up with innovative ways of dealing with corruption because the corrupt are not sleeping. They are also getting more sophisticated, aware that we are closing in on them. Like variants of Covid-19, every method instituted to defeat them they devise new ways to escape the trap, but, as they say, a thief has only forty days.

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Corruption is an atrocity on the national resource purse, a big devil which deprives the population of much needed service and costs the country a great deal in slowing development. I wish to applaud the decision to establish the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to supplement the work of the existing anti-corruption agencies that were already in place. The Unit has proven its relevance and won the trust of the public who have inundated it with cases from all over the country.

I call for teamwork within the Unit. I also call for diligence of staff, attention to detail, alertness and being incorruptible in order to set example to the public. As a crack unit, our task is cut out for us to deliver results. By the end of this year, we expect better results than in each of the previous years that the Unit has been in place. This should be in terms of cases registered, cases investigated, cases prosecuted, convictions achieved and in terms of stolen funds recovered.

I call for stronger partnerships among anti-Corruption Agencies and Departments, including the Inspectorate General of Government, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Internal Security Organization (ISO), the Auditor General’s Office, Parliament and so on. Let us have a unified approach to fighting corruption. This will ensure that the corrupt do not escape using any one public office.

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I urge the Courts of law to play a more affirmative role in hearing and disposing of corruption-related cases. I thank the Anti-Corruption Court for the steps so far taken to successfully hear and put to rest many cases.

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The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should also lighten our work by expeditiously sanctioning cases for presentation to the courts for hearing.

To the members of the general public; the war on corruption is yours as much as it is ours. We can’t perform if you do not grant us your goodwill and support to do a good job. You are the ears and eyes of the state. The people stealing Government funds and denying you services are in the community.

Do a patriotic duty and report to us as you have been doing with Col. Nakalema’s team! Our communication channels are open to receive genuine complaints and tips 24/7.

As for our friends in the Media; your objective coverage of anti-corruption operations and cases will go a long way to rally members of the public to trust our efforts. This will also strengthen your bond with them because the general public relies on you for news and information.

Please, allocate more space to cover facts on the milestones being made in combating Corruption. Do not go for unsubstantiated rumors and blowing them out of proportion! Such coverage endangers the fight against corruption because the public is misled and thinks that there is nothing being done.

Do not favor any side, favor only those who are spotless clean! We are all accountable!
Corruption is easy to defeat. Every case successfully concluded brings the prospect of ridding our country of corruption closer. Let us achieve this in our lifetime!

As I conclude, I need to state that the Unit will not tolerate and it will hold accountable individuals that file malicious cases with fake evidence that are aimed at fighting personal wars with others. Note that the Unit spends money and time to investigate these cases.

I once again, thank my Commander-In-Chief for the trust he has put in me to head this Unit. I will not let him down.
For God and My Country!

The author is the Head, State House Anti-Corruption Unit

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