IGG Seeks Law to Confiscate Property from Illicit Financing
The Inspectorate of Government- IG is seeking a law that will give the government powers to confiscate property acquired by public officials who have embezzled funds.
The Leadership Code Act as amended (2021) requires political leaders and public officers to declare their wealth within three months after assuming their offices and then every two years and five years respectively. But some officers acquire wealth illegally within government and live way above their known earnings.
Dr. Annet Twine, the Director for the IG Leadership Code of Conduct whose office is tasked with implementation and monitoring of public officers, says the IG cannot confiscate property without going through prosecution which often takes longer. This, she says makes it hard for the IG to recover property from public officers who use their positions to enrich themselves on public funds.
Twine cites Geoffrey Kazinda, the former Principal Accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister-OPM who in 2018, after being convicted for corruption, was issued a restraining order on some of the vehicles and other properties believed to belong to him.
In 2021, the Anti-Corruption Court directed that Kazinda’s two Mercedes Benzes, both valued at 500 Million Shillings, and his home in Bukoto, Kampala, valued at 3.5 Billion Shillings be confiscated by the IGG.
But Atwine says that this decision is being challenged by Kazinda in Court Appeal and hence called for a law that provides for civil proceedings by the IG that can lead to the confiscation of property acquired through illicit means.
Twine says, the IG has a tribunal that can hear cases or breach of the Leadership Code of Conduct Act but has no jurisdiction to hear criminal cases.
On Monday, the IGG Beti Kamya announced that the Inspectorate had started verification of information declared by several officers last year. A total of 160 officers will have their declarations verified.
Kamya says, during verification, the Inspectorate uses the information declared and puts it on a measuring scale to determine if indeed what has been declared is as-is.