By Mulengera Reporters
Dr. Albrecht Conze, the German Ambassador to Uganda, confirms that his country has communicated its decision to withhold Shs400bn (or $106m) in aid protesting Government of Uganda failure to crack the whip on officials implicated in corruption.
The Shs400bn was the additional cash the German government had promised to be giving the GoU annually to boost refugee resettlement programs. Conze says his government’s fury stems from the fact that the GoU has refused to act on the findings contained in the UN report that indicated that key officials in the OPM were involved in inflating refugee figures and thereby occasioning financial loss.
He says it was February 2018 (15 months now) when the UN report first indicated there was corruption in the OPM refugee management offices but up to this day, no action has ever been taken to bring the perpetrators to book. He adds that his government is “shocked” that up to this day nobody has ever been taken to court and now is the time to protest the GoU procrastination. He says German individual donors from amongst whom such money is fundraised are sick and tired of hearing their money only gets embezzled once handed over to the GoU.
For the more than 1.4m refugees it hosts, Uganda annually gets over $350m in aid from mostly the EU, Britain, German and US to facilitate refugee support programs. The four countries contribute up to 80% of the refugee donor support and German is 2nd to UK when it comes to making annual contributions.
The German swift decision, which disaster preparedness minister Musa Ecweru confirms to be “a staggering blow” to Uganda’s refugee management program, follows that of UK whose DFID halted significant funding in February protesting lukewarmness in stamping out corruption in the OPM.
Conze explains that Germany will only review its decision on seeing some officials being arraigned before court for their innocence or guilt to be established. In the meantime, Germany will only keep channeling its refugee funding support through international agencies like UNHCR as they can’t trust the GoU anymore.
Uganda badly needs such funding, as Ecweru admits, because it’s the only way it can cope with or repair the damage and strain on infrastructure resulting from influx of large numbers of refugees.
Conze says whereas the government of Uganda is free to act corruptly with its own internally-generated funds, the obligation to account is much higher once the monies involved is grants from foreign governments which also collect it through individual sacrifices made by citizens in their own countries.
This isn’t the first time Uganda is losing out of donor cash because of OPM corruption. The first time this happened was close to 10 years ago when officials in the OPM were implicated for chewing relief money meant to rebuild lives in the war ravaged Northern Uganda. (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).