Thursday, 16 May 2013


Good Lord, I thank you for all, more so, your care for the deprived people of Uganda.  Dear Lord, these people are how they are simply because thieves with connections in Uganda Government have looted whatever would be for them.  It is simply pathetic across most Government health establishments; the staff have no morale to work as it is as if they are offering free labour, hence many patients either end up complications or die due to the state of affairs.  Just go to most Government offices, many are trying to make ends meet; this calls for a tip to get what would be free service.  At the Police stations,it is a miracle to get service without parting with a token to get what one would be entitled to.  In revenue, they say, it is the connections which may help one pay lower taxes.  Go to the schools, teachers are a yawning lot.

Lord, the coming financial year will be worse as vital services have had their would be share of the national budget cut.  Priority as usual has gone to the Security where over shs 1,700 bn has been budgeted, but Lord, the security induces more poverty for the people of Uganda and actually helps leaders who would have gone a decade a go stay longer and hence cause more insecurity. 

Good Lord, what may help Uganda and its people is an effort to recover from the thieves many of whom are known by the public, but the Government is least bothered in recovering from them.  It is absurd Lord that many of the senior thieves have political connections with a good number having campaigned at some moment in time for votes to deliver better services to the people.  What the poor people of Uganda are witnessing my Lord is that these thieves in addition to stealing public funds with impunity have gone a step further to call for Government funding for the sickness they induce from the lavish life styles they lead.

Good Lord, the situation is bad.  There is however all the hope that as the creator of the people who are suffering you will not abandon them as they suffer at the hands of yesterday's liberators!         

In Your name I pray.


People know stealing is wrong, but there are many kinds of theft. What does the Bible say about robbery, burglary, shoplifting, looting, and petty theft?  Are people thieves if they are dishonest in business, cheat on taxes, or refuse to pay debts? What about plagiarism, copyright or patent violation? What does the Bible say about various forms of stealing?

Most people do not want to think of themselves as thieves, because they know stealing is wrong.

Stealing is wrong for a number of reasons:

Many forms of stealing violate civil law.
Romans 13:1-7 - Civil law is ordained by God. If we disobey rulers, then we are disobeying God. [1 Pet. 2:13,14]

Stealing is specifically prohibited in the Scriptures.
Exodus 20:15 - You shall not steal.
Matthew 15:19, 20 - Theft is one of many acts that come from the heart and defile a man.
1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 - Thieves will not enter the kingdom of God.
[Deut. 5:19; Lev. 19:11; Matt. 19:18; Isa. 61:8; 10:2; 1 Pet. 4:15, 16; Amos 3:10; Hos. 4:1,2; Prov. 22:22; 1 Cor. 5:10f; Jer. 7:9-15; Zech. 5:3,4]

Stealing violates the law of love.
Romans 13:9,10 - One who loves his neighbor will do good, not harm. Stealing violates the law of love, because it harms our neighbor.
Matthew 7:12 - Do to others as you would have others do to you. Do you want others to steal what belongs to you? No. Then don't steal from others.
[Luke 10:25-37; Eph. 4:28]

The fact is that there are many ways to be guilty of stealing.

Stealing is taking property or possessions that rightfully belong to other people, without the right or permission to do so. There are many different kinds of stealing.
While most people know that stealing is not right, many people still practice various forms of it! Some may not realize their guilt, but others justify it and even admire others who practice it.

William Kituuka Kiwanuka

Envoys reveal why donor funds are easily stolen

Publish Date: Jan 14, 2013
Envoys reveal why donor funds are easily stolen

One of the IDP camps for the peace and recovery plan of Northern Uganda. Part of the OPM cash was meant for the project

Direct donor funding of sectoral budgets, rather than the general budget, sending too much money within short time frames, inadequate financial controls, high-level collusion and handling of offenders with kid gloves were the key causes of incessant fraud, envoys say.
Their revelation comes in the wake of the sh40b Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) financial scandal, where aid from countries, including Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark for the Peace Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda was misappropriated.
The envoys and experts also propose solutions that they believe can plug the loopholes, including auctioning offenders’ property, developing watertight financial controls and killing the corrupt in public like it is done in other countries.
Joachim Duster, the deputy head of mission at the German Embassy in Kampala, says Germany channels its budgetary support to Uganda through the finance ministry and the money goes to the general budget, whose allocation is scrutinised and monitored by Parliament.
“This is not to say that such money cannot be misappropriated, but it goes through complex budget monitoring. But when donor funds go to a specific sector like the money that was sent to the OPM, a few people can decide what to do with it,” he says.
Duster added that most of Germany’s project aid is channelled through agencies like GIZ (Germany Agency for International Cooperation), which they closely and periodically evaluate, leaving little room for misappropriation.
The diplomat said donor countries have agreed with the Ugandan Government to put in place financial reforms as a pre-condition to resuming the disbursement of budget support.
“Ugandans should rise up and collectively fight corruption because it is an obstacle to development and investment.”
Duster stressed the need to strengthen the already existing institutions like the Inspectorate of Government and the Auditor General.
“These institutions need to be accorded the necessary resources and knowledge to detect fraud by, for instance, putting in place an efficient computerised system,” he observes.
Like in Uganda, Duster observed that Germany also has institutions like the General Audit that check on misappropriation of public funds.
In Germany, Duster noted, the culture of resigning has been deeply entrenched once a leader is implicated in suspicious behaviour.
“One does not have to be guilty. Once you are implicated as a leader, you step down to pave way for investigations. It is usually institutions like the media and civil society that push for a leader’s resignation. As a result, leaders in Germany stay away from bad practices.”
Colum Hatchell, the second secretary at the Irish Embassy, says they have already highlighted the loopholes and solutions in several reports posted on their website of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
According to an interim report on the misappropriation of funds in the OPM by the Irish embassy’s evaluation and audit unit technical team, sophisticated and elaborate high-level collusion at senior levels abets fraud.
The report noted that collusion in the three key agencies that handled the funds: OPM, finance ministry and Bank of Uganda made it difficult for normal systems to detect the fraud as key controls were bypassed by the individuals who were responsible for implementing the controls.
The report also notes weaknesses in the financial control system, where bank reconciliations are not done timely.
The failure to close dormant bank accounts is also another loophole through which civil servants divert funds. In the OPM scandal, dormant accounts were allowed to remain in place, despite the Auditor General’s regular reminders to close them.
To avert future fraud, the Irish foreign affairs minister, Eamon Gilmore, says they would now directly oversee the donor funds, instead of leaving the task to the Government.
“I have instructed my officials to undertake a review of all management, monitoring and control systems across our bilateral programmes to ensure that risks are being appropriately identified and managed.
Every possible measure to minimise the risk of future fraud will be put in place,” Gilmore says. When Uganda refunded the £4m (sh17.3b), Gilmore noted:
“Looking to the future, we stand ready to continue to work with the Auditor General of Uganda in his efforts to root out corruption, strengthen financial controls, and build robust and transparent systems of accountability.”
Local experts speak out

Morrison Rwakakamba, a public policy analyst, concurs with the envoys on a loose financial control system in Government.
He recommends tightening checks and balances to fight corruption, arguing: “Whether it is donor funds or taxpayers’ money, thieves will remain thieves.”
Rwakakamba calls for a more open approach involving the beneficiaries, right from the time of disbursement to implementation, coupled with regular followups.
“Once there is no pressure on civil servants, they steal with impunity.” Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba, a consultant with Reev Consult, says civil servants easily steal money because there are no serious punishments given to thieves.
“When you steal and the Government pays back, like it was the case with the £4m to the Irish government, it encourages impunity. The Government should tell us where they got that money because it is unfair to refund stolen funds using taxpayers’ money.”

Another loophole, Nuwagaba says, is that there is a lot of donor funding coming into the country without properly streamlined programmes intended for it.

“Public servants are being forced to absorb huge sums of money in short periods. So, rather than return it to donors, they fabricate ways of absorbing it.”

He adds that the Government’s monitoring and coordination units lack a focus as each of them assumes the other is doing the job. He asserts that the only way corruption can be averted is by making it very expensive and risky.

He cites countries like China, South Korea and New Zealand, where the penalty for stealing public funds is death. “In China, they have a firing squad every first Friday of the month for the corrupt.

In New Zealand, the corrupt are stoned to death while in South Korea the corrupt are shot.” Nuwagaba reiterates the envoys’ feeling that the property of the corrupt should be confiscated and auctioned, on top of dismissing them with disgrace.

Nuwagaba believes Uganda can survive without donor funding, arguing that Kenya did it between 1990 and 2000 and that the country currently balances its budget up to 98%. “Today, Kenya has one of the biggest budgets in Africa.

I believe we can sustain ourselves if locally generated funds are properly utilised and corruption is fought. Development is initiated from within. If external funding does not come, we shall be forced to think hard for revenue sources.”

Aid cuts now threaten vital public services in Uganda

With donations withheld, programmes under the troubled Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda are in limbo. Photos/FILE
With donations withheld, programmes under the troubled Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda are in limbo. Photos/FILE  Nation Media Group
  • Donors, under the Joint Budget Support Framework (JBSF) have suspended about $300 million, or 7.1 per cent of the annual budget, for at least six months.
  • The suspension of aid will cut economic growth by 0.8 per cent, from the projected 5 per cent in 2012-2013 financial year to 4.2 per cent.
  • Uganda has vowed to recover the stolen funds, boost the accountability of its public financial system, and prosecute guilty officials.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in donor aid have been withheld from Uganda in recent months, threatening post-war rehabilitation in the north and key public investments across the country.
Keith Muhakanizi, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, said donors, under the Joint Budget Support Framework (JBSF) — including the World Bank, European Union, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom — have suspended about $300 million, or 7.1 per cent of the annual budget, for at least six months.
The cuts followed allegations that officials in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) embezzled up to $13 million in donor funds intended for recovery in the northern region.
Uganda is trying to win back donor esteem by meeting their conditions — Denmark, for instance, has demanded a full refund of stolen money — the introduction of better control systems, and written confirmation of the government’s commitment to crack down on corrupt officials.
Recover funds
Uganda has vowed to recover the stolen funds, boost the accountability of its public financial system, and prosecute guilty officials. At least 12 implicated OPM employees have been suspended, and two senior officials are on remand facing prosecution.
Hearings before a public accounts committee are ongoing, and Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper reported on December 13 that the Cabinet had approved a measure to refund $15.5 million to donors from the government’s consolidated fund.
Mr Muhakanizi said public services would not be impacted by the cuts until the next financial quarter, starting January 2013, when another instalment of donor funds is due to be released.
“We will take adjustment measures where necessary across the board,” he said. Uganda has already shifted its budget priorities once this financial year. 
In September, Members of Parliament refused to pass the budget without additional funding being allocated for the recruitment of health workers.
Josephine Watera, lead researcher on the Parliamentary Social Services Committee behind that resolution, says more than $100 million in extra funds were eventually granted and pulled from a number of sectors.
Though she insisted that budget battle was necessary for the survival of the country’s deteriorating health sector, she admitted the government’s short-term fixes will have unforeseen long-term impacts on the sectors the money is moved from. “The Ministry of Finance says it is not impacted by the donor funds [being suspended],” Ms Watera said.
“And maybe we will mostly feel the impact two years later, but shifting money in the budget will not see it replaced to where it came from.”
With relatively low domestic revenue collection (13 per cent of Uganda’s GDP, the lowest in the region) and the much-awaited crude oil production still years away, analysts say the aid cuts will be devastating for the Ugandan economy.
The country is still recovering from last year’s high inflation, which hit 30.5 per cent in October 2011. Tax collection and domestic borrowing make up the 75 per cent of the budget not funded by donors.
“The government is the biggest spender in the economy — with cuts, everything suffers,” said Angelo Izama, a political affairs analyst at the US-based Open Society Foundation.
Uganda’s central bank has said the suspension of aid will cut the country’s economic growth by 0.8 per cent, from projected 5 per cent growth in the 2012-2013 financial year to 4.2 per cent.
According to Mr Izama, Uganda can expect to see stagnated social services, civil servant layoffs and delayed infrastructure projects due to contract breaches in the coming months.
Northern Uganda recovery
With donations withheld pending the results of ongoing investigations, the programmes under the troubled Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) are in limbo.
Though the plan ended in June, an extension was due to run from July 2012 to 2015. Ireland was the first donor to respond to the corruption allegations, suspending approximately $20 million from October.
Fionnula Quinlan, a press officer with Irish Aid, said the money was due to build schools, fund basic infrastructure such as water supply, improve public financial management and prevent gender-based violence.
On November 28, Sweden issued a statement demanding that Uganda repay some $6.7 million — the full amount Sweden contributed to roads, schools, health clinics, legal system and water supply through the PRDP — though it has not yet been able to verify that the full amount of this money was misused.
The initial result of an independent Swedish study “reinforces suspicions of embezzlement and shows that the scale is significant,” the statement said.
“We are aware that this could slow down some development in northern Uganda, and it is extremely regrettable,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, the director general of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).
The Ugandan government operates a cash budget, which works on an estimate of assets, as opposed to an operating budget, which works on forecast revenues and expenses. If Uganda’s coffers from taxes, loans or donors are empty, ministries and implementing districts will be left in the lurch.
“By cutting aid, they are not punishing us [leaders] but killing children and women out in the villages who are in dire need of service delivery,” said David Odongo, chairperson of Aleptong district in the Lango sub-region.
Martin Ojara Mapinduzi, chairman of Gulu district, in northern Uganda’s Acholi sub-region, urged donors to revamp the way they distribut aid rather than cut it.
“They should focus on using the district local government structures and development agencies that directly interface with the people whom the funds are meant for,” he said.
“We are very worried,” said Luke Nyeko, chairman of Kitgum district, one of the 55 northern districts benefiting from the PRDP programming.
According to Mr Nyeko, Kitgum stopped receiving government-managed PRPD funds in September with no explanation, and a number of programmes, including a scholarship scheme for vulnerable youth, were stopped.
“Our people are deeply traumatised because of the war, and these students who should have been moved up through education are going to suffer,” Nyeko said.
“There is nothing yet we have been told about that money… Our hands are tied,” Mr Nyeko said adding that projects on roads, health centres, boreholes, and staff houses in schools have now been “completely interrupted.”
He called on donors to follow the example of the US government, which supports projects directly through USAID, as opposed to through Uganda’s budget.
Budget versus project support
Direct budget support has been a contentious issue among donors for years, though the percentage of external support to Uganda’s annual expenditure has decreased over the years.
Donor funds account for about 25 per cent of Uganda’s budget for the 2012-2013 financial year, compared with 42 per cent in 2006-2007.
Norway, a former JBSF partner whose funds were directly involved in the OPM scandal, stopped funding Uganda’s budget directly in the 2010-2011 financial year, citing a lack of progress against corruption.
Though it continues to provide loans to Ugandan projects aligned to national development priorities, last month Norway suspended about $10 million in aid intended primarily for roads and energy projects such as rural electrification and expanding the national power grid, according to its embassy in Kampala.
According to a March 2012 statement, JBSF partners had already planned to reduce direct budget support last year, after a joint assessment “highlighted poor budget credibility and discipline in 2011 and low releases to some key service delivery functions such as health, water and environment and education”.
Donors are increasingly tying aid to economic development and good governance — the same report that uncovered the abused PRDP funds was highlighted by donors as proof of effective aid, and the kind of investment they would continue to support.
“But there’s a deep irony here, because donor-promoted institutions are maturing, and as a result donors are cutting aid,” Mr Izama said. “The reform processes that we are seeing today are actually a good precursor to the type of governance regime you need for a country that has got natural resources, and whose economy is coming of age.”

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