26 Jan 2024

By John Kabagambe

In anti-corruption news, the year 2023 ended with visible achievements by the Brig Gen. Isoke-led SH-ACU that did some serious heavy lifting, by bursting corruption culprits at various levels using a multi-pronged strategy.

The reader will recall that in the first quarter of 2023, Brig Gen Isoke marshalled various security agencies to burst in record time, what came to be known as the mabaati scandal, that had quite a number of disgraced high profile corruption actors such as Ministers.

The highly publicized arraignment in court of “Hon” Mary Kitutu (Minister for Karamoja affairs) “Hon” Agnes Nandutu and Amos Lugoloobi (State minister of finance and planning) gave the public some reassurance that, whosoever steals public resources irrespective of whether you are a minister or whatever, you will be tackled and descended on by the indefatigable State house anti-corruption unit (SH-ACU) like a ton of bricks.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that, the fear of SH-ACU arresting corruption culprits became a real and present danger, as several high flyers implicated in the mabaati saga, even started avoiding their offices and residences (like the plague) for fear of being arrested by SH-ACU.

Prior to the mabaati scandal, Brig Gen.Isoke had swung into action to investigate the outcry and public disdain arising from widespread reports of corruption and abuse of office at Entebbe airport. Thankfully, this sounds like a distant echoe of the past because it was handled and nipped in the bud, when Brig Gen Isoke was tasked to investigate the mess at Entebbe airport.

Aside from the mabaati scandal and the mess at Entebbe airport, SH-ACU continued to arrest scores of pockets of corruption by combing local governments in several parts of the country, in the process, recovering public funds and resources, and leading to the vacation from offices of many civil servants who are implicated, collared and convicted for corruption and abuse of office.

Cases of land grabbing and bribery did not escape the radar of SH-ACU and we have a vivid memory of a prosecutor and a magistrate who were arrested and arraigned in court, as well as the arrest and arraignment in court of Mr. Balondemu (Lawyer and Kampala land board boss) on allegations of swindling billions of cash from foreign investors.

In all this, while the state house anti-corruption unit remains a small unit handling an amorphous corruption monster, we applaud its efficacy and vivid impact on the ground as well as Brig Gen Isoke’s marshalling of inter-security- agency cooperation in tackling corruption at various levels and his public sensitisation efforts, by time and again addressing different interest groups about the war on corruption.

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