The British government’s Department for International Development (DFID) is pulling its aid to the Ugandan government as investigations concerning fraud by the Office of the Prime Minister continue. The DFID had allotted approximately £89 million per year to help Uganda until 2015. These funds are now indefinitely frozen.
The World Bank is also currently assessing its aid to the nation. A spokesperson stated, “The World Bank Group condemns all acts of corruption for depriving countries of the means to achieve better development outcomes.”
It is estimated that Sh38.3 billion of foreign aid has been mismanaged by the Office of the Prime Minister, diverted perhaps into personal accounts.
The corruption has already threatened educational funds. Furniture meant for schools was handed out to private individuals. Poor internal administration mismanages the supplies, giving too much and too little to schools across the board. Despite the generosity of the donor organizations, hundreds of millions of dollars are routinely lost, often without explanation.
Kinkizi East MP, Chris Baryomunsi, stated that those who stole money intended for Uganda’s children “are worse than murderers who deserve the worst possible punishment.”
Finance minister Chris Kassami commented on the scandal, stating, “This was outright theft. This is a new trend where a group of civil servants collude to steal money. Our system never foresaw this. They beat the system.”
Former Prime Minister, Professor Apolo Nsibambi, continues to deny allegations of his participation in the scandal. He expressed regret for the affair: “This scandal is very unfortunate, and I regret that it escaped my radar.”
Yet, such kleptocratic leadership has always been the norm in Uganda. The administration is fraught with corruption and underhanded financial dealings. These issues call into the question the efficacy of mass government aid. Can the Ugandan government be depended on to distribute funds intended for those in need? Can the private sector do a better job?
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