Government has approved the Amendments of the new Leadership Code Act 2021 that requires all public officers to declare their wealth with in a period of three months to the office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG)
The Bill was approved by the cabinet during a meeting that was held in Kyankwanzi on the April 23.
Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity said unlike the 2017 Act, the New Leadership Code Act 2021, seeks to require and register all public officers who should submit their declaration of income, assets and liabilities to the office of the IGG by 23 July 2021 irrespective of their ranks.
“Before this Act, only officers above 5million Ugandan Shillings were obliged to declare but now, there will be no ranks along as someone accrues salary from the Consolidated Fund,” Lokodo said.
Adding that government has witnessed many low officers indulged with resources even more than those in high ranks.
This was to be done every five years during the month of April from the commencement of the new Act.
Lokodo explained that government needed to amend this Act as the 2002 Act that was amended in 2017 still had challenges in fighting fraud and corruption in the country
“In 2021, there was need to again amend this act because there was no consonant between the bleach and the punishment, many bleaches were done but without consequential actions. This is what Leadership Code Act 2021 has done,” he said.
Also putting into context that the 2017 Act had its own great achievement of establishing the Leadership Court Tribunal provided for under Article 233A of the Constitution with a five member committee and this ensures that there is no bleach of the Act in the country.
Lokodo also said that the 2021 Leadership Code Act was among the legal frame work measures that the government had put together to lineup all legal laws meant to help government institution to implement and effect the fight against corruption.
“This is the law that is going to help us capture and recover our resources that have been swindled left and right, we shall also be able to know who are the genuine leader living up to the measure of their due earnings,” he said.
Adding that the Act seeks to utilize all Legal and accepted ways of getting resources and if anything more than what was measured up basing on our salary, business or donation, then the tribunal will have all reason to confiscate and get all your assets away from the public officer.
However due to the complications that were embedded in filling manual forms of declaration, minister noted that the exercise was to be done electronically through the Online Declaration of Assets (ODS) to make the work simpler this time round.
Lokodo therefore requested that the IGG embarks on sensitizing programs to the public officers of their legal obligation country wide.
These were to be assisted to obtain access to computers and internet during the declaration month.
“All public officers should acquit themselves with this law and comply with their legal obligations. Any leader who does not submit the declaration within the required period is already in bleach of the Code, he said.
Adding that the declaration period of leaders in the old category that had been extended to 23 April 2021 had expired and that those that hadn’t declared their wealth where bleaching the new Act.
The bleaches of the Act included among others; submitting false declarations, submitting a declaration without reasonable cause after the specified time has expired and accepting gifts that influence decision making.
Bleaching of this new Act calls for; caution payment of a fine, demotion and dismissal from office as imposed by the Leadership Court Tribunal.
Minister said there was no room for corruption in Uganda and that there wasn’t any country in the world with the best laws against corruption.
Mariam F. Wangadya, Deputy IGG, also revealed that they will avail the programme for the new category of public offices required to declare their wealth
“The expected number of the new category is estimated at 400,000 and these will be required to submit their declaration using the IG Online Declaration System (IG-ODS) available on the IG website (www.igg.go.ug),”Wangadya said.
Adding that, a total of 4,222 leaders from the former category who failed to declare their wealth before the deadline were to be investigated for possible prosecution and sanctioning before the Leadership Court Tribunal.
She however noted that despite the challenges there has been an increase in the compliance rate at 83.11% (20,778) leaders out of (25,000) that were expected to declare in March 2021.
The Chairperson Leadership Tribunal also expressed their readiness in adjudicating cases presented to their court by the IGG noting that the tribunal had put in place all the required rules to guide in the court ruling without fear of favor