Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A case for IGG Baku’s impeachment

The NRM Caucus at Kyankwanzi squarely laid blame on civil servants as the orchestrators of grand corruption. As a solution, the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi is pushing an agenda to give contracts to bureaucrats. I frown at such a line of thinking on two fronts: First, the civil servants are corrupt because they have seen and are supervised by a notoriously corrupt political class. It’s therefore, reasonable that political corruption is tackled first so that they [politician] can claim moral authority to fight corrupt civil servants. Otherwise, it’s unfashionable for a thief to try to dissuade others from stealing. 
Secondly, giving contracts to civil servants is akin to the structural adjustment program of the 1990’s when several civil servants were retrenched to allow the political class to employ people of their choice. Northerners and easterners lost out miserably and still remain at the periphery of the government bureaucracy. This contracts thing appears to be a move to weed out perceived anti-NRM civil servants. It must be resisted.
Fast forward: Uganda has got the office of the IGG meant to be lead the fight against graft. It has failed. One of the problems is the man called Raphael Baku, the acting IGG. He is unfit to even seat next to a real IGG, if you ask me.
Here is why? He has no charisma. He has no character. He is a schemer, pure and simple. Hang on please. This guy is now in the middle of a scandal. Posta Uganda dubiously wanted to sell off land near Postel building in Kampala. Mr Baku heard about it and he wrote to Posta asking why the land was being sold without following proper procedures. Within 24 hours, Baku changed his mind and became interested in the land. He asked Posta boss, one shrewd man called Arinaitwe to remove it from the public domain and sell it to IGG.
Baku and Arinaitwe agreed on a fee of Sh5billion without going through the contracts committees of both IGG and Posta. Posta's board hadnt even known about the transaction but Baku immediately orders payment of Sh2.8billion. More over Posta had not done the valuation of the land. Instead Baku followed it up. By the time the IGG paid a deposit, the certificate of title had not been separated meaning that Baku was buying the empty land including the building housing the Office of the Prime Minister. By the time the IGG does all this, does he still qualify to spearhead the fight against corruption?  Obviously, no. Why did he get interested in the land without making it public? Was there any pecuniary interest? There is a very reason to suspect. Why did he let Posta ignore procurement rules? If Baku can ally with Arinaitwe who has a host of management issues at Posta, does he still have the moral authority to listen to complaints from Posta employees who would feel mistreated by Arinaitwe?
Secondly, Baku is a flop as a leader. As you read this, one of the most experienced officers at the Inspectorate, Ms Susan Bisharira, the director Leadership Code, has declined to have her contract renewed because she can’t take Baku’s confusion any more. Bisharira is a straight talker who even qualifies to become the IGG having worked with the Institution since its inception. But because Baku is a failed politician and job seeker, who, follows no rules, senior officials are opting to quit the Inspectorate.
Baku does not even read reports submitted to him. He only signs those he has interest in. Most of the work is done by his personal assistant one Simon Kajura Ogwal, whose understanding of the law appears wanting. This is how Baku ended up sanctioning a case against Quality Chemicals even when he knew that there was no case. He said the firm would be prosecuted just to shame them. Did we hire Baku to shame without evidence? Isn’t this gross incompetence, a ground on which the IGG can be fired? Where are serious MPs here?
Baku’s approach is a mockery of the fight against corruption. Because of his incompetence, we now have a former VP Gilbert Bukenya walking with his head high that he is not corrupt even when the public does not believe so. Baku opted to rush Bukenya to court without any evidence.
Thirdly, Baku received Sh930million as supplementary budget to investigate Chogm. Did he need all that money? Wasn’t Chogm investigation within the mandate of the IGG’s ordinary schedule? Only half of this money was used. And the accountability included payment of honorarium and additional duties. Surely wasn’t this double payment? I am glad that the police have gotten hold of the payment vouchers. I hope they see the senselessness in Baku and charge him. He should also be charged for spending money in bogus foreign trips with his cowboy personal assistant. I hear next month, they are headed to the US on a spending spree. Instead of supervising prosecutors who lose cases in court, Baku is always hunting for a travelling opportunity. He has concentrated on prosecution as his only mandate as IGG ingnoring the adherence to the Leadership code and the Ombudsman role which would save thousands of people from poor governance. To be a performer according to Baku, one must show how many cases they have taken to court. This is meant to hoodwink the public that he is working. His cadres only end up prosecuting primary school teachers and parish chiefs without proper academic papers. Surely, is that the way graft should be fought?  Lastly, shouldn’t police ask Baku to explain how he acquired a house he recently moved into in Kiwatule? It’s estimated at Sh700million. How did he get the money? Baku needs to be subjected to the same dose of fire he gives other people.
For his incompetence in handling the Bukenya case, Quality Chemicals and the now dubious Posta land, any sensible appointing authority or parliament, would ask Baku to try is schemes elsewhere not at an office of such magnitude. Impeach the failure.

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