Kampala. The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has expressed outrage over what she termed as impunity by “mafias in government” and lack of punishment for their alleged transgression.
In a no-holds-barred address on Monday to representatives of Commonwealth anti-graft agencies currently meeting in Kampala, Ms Kadaga spoke of “the mafia [in government], working in cahoots with dodgy officials” with “glaring impunity.”
She said such cabal hinders anti-graft fight. The Speaker, whom sources who attended the closed-door dinner meeting described to have been infuriated, also criticised anti-corruption bodies in the country for procrastination.
A highly-placed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Ms Kadaga had no kind words for some government officials she did not name, whom she said had turned government service into a hunting ground for personal enrichment.
The speaker who recently returned from weeks of treatment in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, narrated how the mafia connive with officials in roads construction chain and Finance ministry to steal public resources yet anti-corruption agencies do nothing about the haemorrhage.
Explaining how the mafia works, Ms Kadaga reportedly told the agencies that one of Parliament’s oversight committees investigated the abuse of public funds and discovered that a colossal amount of money, earmarked for compensation of people along roadways, had not reached the intended recipients.
“The mafia, in cahoots with dodgy officials or like-minds in the road construction chain and the Finance ministry, instead got this compensation money and put it on their bank deposit account for a whole two years!” Ms Kadaga said.
She added, according to one source, that: “What is most shocking and disheartening is that up to now, no action has ever been taken against these individuals. They are still in their offices.”
Ms Kadaga’s press secretary, Mr Sam Obbo, yesterday issued a statement, confirming the statements sources attributed to the Speaker.
He also indicated that one case of the alleged theft of tax payers’ money happened three years ago, but no action was taken.
Mr Obbo’s statement also quoted the Speaker, voicing the House’s frustrations over inordinately delayed or lack of action on specific fraud cases:
“And when the public reads or hears about what’s unearthed by Parliament, they get excited. They expect corrective or punitive action to be taken by us. However, the truth is that our role is to unearth and make recommendations to the Executive and the Judiciary,” the statement reads in part.
A mafia according to Wikipedia, is a type of organised crime syndicate whose primary activities are protected racketeering, arbitrating disputes between criminals, and brokering and enforcing illegal agreements and transactions.
The term gained popularity when Prof Gilbert Bukenya, then vice president, used it in a 2005 interview with this newspaper to describe his enemies and their clandestine activities he said were calculated to bring him down from the political office. Dated may 2019, ..