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IGG proposes vetting of District Service Commission members

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The Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Kamya has proposed that members nominated to the District Service Commissions (DSC) first undergo a due diligence vetting exercise before being submitted to the District Councils for endorsement.

The IGG noted that the move is aimed at reducing corruption amid increased allegations of sale of jobs to unsuspecting members of the public by DSCs.

She was addressing Journalists at the Inspectorate of Government (IG) head office in Kampala on January 31, 2023.

“Currently, the District Chairperson nominates names to the DSC and submits them to the District Council for endorsement. The practice is that once the District Chairperson takes care of the interests of all stakeholders in this matter then endorsement is guaranteed. And usually, merit is the least of anybody’s concern. The IG has already written to the Public Service Commission proposing an engagement to discuss the matter,” the IGG said.

The IGG’s revelation was triggered by the Presidential directive made on January 26, 2023 to all District Internal Security Officers (DISOs) and Criminal Investigations Directorate (CIDs) to swing into action and arrest district officials who are allegedly selling jobs.

President Museveni, who was officiating at the 37th NRM Day celebrations in Kakumiro district, also noted that he had heard of girls being allegedly sexually exploited for jobs.

“I have heard the bazukkulu [youth] crying about DSCs selling local government jobs. I have heard of girls being exploited sexually for jobs. Get evidence, please, devoted members of the public and we expunge and roast those pigs,” the President said.

He added: “The DISOs and the CIDs should also be on notice. How does such corruption go on in your area and you do not know or, if you know, you do not report?”

The IGG expressed concern that apart from the injustice of denying a person of merit the opportunity to serve this country, there is the great danger of littering the public service with human resource of low caliber which in turn leads to incompetence, inefficiency, non-performance, loss of public funds, poor service delivery and poverty.

She revealed that the IG has over the years investigated and given orders, recommendations and sanctions to address this grave evil to the country, adding that the matter is currently being addressed at the highest political and administrative level.

For instance, she said that there is an ongoing prosecution of the Mitooma DSC, and the disbanding of the Rakai DSC on the basis of alleged corruption as per the IG report.

The IG had also started engaging DSCs and had actually done Kabarole, Jinja and Masaka districts, to discuss issues of rampant corruption in recruitment of staff for District Local Governments but the exercise was interrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, the IGG said that plans are in high gear to revive the engagements so as to change the mindset of DSC officials and combat corruption.

“We thank those members of the public who raised these matters with relevant authorities, in particular to the IG and those Bazukkulu who brought the matter to the attention of His Excellency the President. That is the way to fight graft, corruption, abuse of office and authority and violation of the laws of this country. Expose them with evidence,” she said.

The common breaches in the recruitments handled by the DSCs include nepotism/conflict of interest, extortion/bribery/ring-fencing of jobs, recruitment of non-qualified candidates and irregular composition of DSCs.

Others are; external interference in the recruitment process especially by political leaders and top technical staff, recruitment of staff with forged academic documents and deliberate poor record keeping by DSCs, which makes supervision and auditing of their performance difficult.

The Director Anti-Corruption, in the IG Mr. Simon Kajura Ogwal, said that the directorate has successfully handled a number of corruption cases in DSCs with serious measures being undertaken.

“We have intervened in a number of occasions in DSCs where malpractices are made during recruitment and some of the culprits have been prosecuted in the Anti-Corruption case. We will continue doing our best to ensure that there is rule of law in this country and also ensure that corruption is eliminated. We call upon members of the public not to keep quiet but speak up about these issues and we can assure them that they will be protected under the Whistleblowers Protection Act,” he said.

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