HIDDEN ELECTRONIC INFORMATION HAS BEEN AIDING THE CORRUPT IN UGANDA, NEW FORENSIC LAB TO SOLVE PUZZLE-BAMUGEMEREIRE

By Goodluck Musinguzi

George Bamugemereire , Deputy Inspector General of Government says the fight against corruption in Uganda has been taken to the digital space after strengthening the Anti-Corruption Chain in its entirety rather than focus on specific institutions.

While launching a state of the art forensic laboratory at his office headquarters in Kampala, he said DFID-UK’s programme called Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption and Accountability Regime(SUGAR) had supported them.

“We thank the Government of Uganda and development partners for supporting the establishment of the forensic laboratory. The digital Lab will aid the recovery of electronic information deleted,encypted and corrupted files from computers and phones of corrupt officials”, said Mr George Bamugemereire.

DFID initiated programme, called Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption and Accountability Regime (SUGAR).

The SUGAR programme is a 5-year, £30m investment, by DFID to support increased accountability in Uganda and address corruption.

Adam Smith International the programme implementer said this is exciting news from Uganda. The IGG has launched a brand new forensic laboratory which will improve the speed and quality of investigation to help the Government of Uganda tackle high level corruption.

The philosophy behind the SUGAR programme has a two-pronged approach.

The first one is based on the idea that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The programme will therefore seek to strengthen the Anti-Corruption Chain in its entirety rather than focus on specific institutions. 

The underlying assumption is that by supporting detection, investigation, prosecution, adjudication, and enforcement of sanctions (including the recovery of the proceeds of corruption), the project will contribute to increase the prohibitive cost of engaging in public sector corruption in an endemically corrupt environment.

The second prong is based on an alternative assumption that due to the endemic corruption situation, corruption in Uganda’s public institutions is so widespread that all staff, including leaders and managers, are part of the problem.

And since patronage has a strong role to play in Uganda’s social and political economy, the rule of law (loyalty and adherence to impersonal rules) is undermined both by corruption and adherence to person-based rules.

Consequently, if institutional effectiveness is to improve, the top leaders must want that. It is also assumed that effective formal institutions only emerge when the interests of the political settlement are aligned with the outcomes of formal institutions. 

Further, where a public institution suffers from a collective action problem of corruption, the entire institutional culture needs to change.

The Inspectorate of Government got the support to build a strong and sustainable institutional integrity in systemic institutional transformations, also beyond a shift in institutional leadership.

Such support focused on internal control measures that strengthen institutional performance incentives, while reducing the risk of corruption across institutional work processes.

Given the social and political economy of Uganda, support will equally need to be directed at widening the circle of transformative leaders with sufficient capacities to maintain institutional integrity and high-level performance gains.

As a means to address the problem of weak institutional implementation, SUGAR has adopted the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA) approach, which ensures continuous learning with a view to enhance project effectiveness in addressing identified problems obstructing improved performance of the anti-corruption chain, and the establishment of strong and sustainable institutional integrity in institutions under transition.

The intended impact is to raise the risk of engaging in corruption in the public sector.


The laboratory will, according to officials, help the investigators recover electronic information that is in deleted, encrypted, and corrupted files from computers and phones of persons suspected to have engaged in corruption.

Speaking at the launch of the lab at the Inspectorate’s offices in Kampala, Bamugemereire noted that with the newly established specialised equipment, the Inspectorate will be able to solve corruption riddles that were hitherto concealed electronically.

Bamugemereire said that because of the changing forms of corruption, from simple misappropriation of funds involving paperwork to syndicated high profile corruption, the Inspectorate had to shift from whistleblowers to unravel the transition electronically.

Bamugemereire said that because of the changing forms of corruption, from simple misappropriation of funds involving paperwork to syndicated high profile corruption, the Inspectorate had to shift from whistleblowers to unravel the transition electronically.

The equipment’s authenticity is globally acceptable and the results are acceptable and unquestionable in the courts of law.

“When the government payment system transitioned from physical cash to electronic payment, it became difficult to get cash into the private hands, and as a result payment now is syndicated. For us to track its movement, from one official to another, we had to also go digital.

With this equipment, we will be able to trace the motive, the plan, the actors, and the action by retrieving the suspects’ information shared on computer or mobile phone even if it was deleted,” Bamugemereire said.

Managed by Adam Smith International (ASI), the Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Response Technical Advisory Facility (SUGAR TAF) is a five-year (2015-2020) programme designed to address public sector corruption by

(1) increasing the risk for engaging in public sector corruption and (2) reducing opportunities for public sector corruption.

The programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union (EU). SUGAR TAF prioritises inter-agency coordination through a “chain-linked approach” thus effectiveness is contingent upon resolving challenges across the whole anti-corruption chain of the Government of Uganda, which includes institutions responsible for the functions of detection, investigation, prosecution, adjudication of corruption, as well as the application of civil and administrative sanctions and recovery of assets.

About Goodluck Musinguzi

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