Head Teachers Prosecuted For Corruption in Bundibugyo District, Uganda
In 2008, the World Bank partnered with Uganda’s Ministry of Education to support construction of primary and secondary school classrooms and staff houses. While the project was implemented well in many districts, in Bundibugyo there were a number of examples of malpractices which were unearthed by vigilant community based monitors under the docket of the Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition (RAC).
It was discovered that some teachers exercised influence peddling with the procurement committees and broke the procurement rules. Those who wrongfully won the contracts then started on the work but abandoned the projects before completion. The community members complained to the District Education Officer who was unable to help them. RAC then intervened and forwarded the cases to ACCU which then arranged for meetings with relevant officials to address the concerns of the communities.
Consequently the Anti-Corruption Coalition of Uganda (ACCU) scheduled a meeting with the offices of the MOES Permanent Secretary and the World Bank Project Coordinator. The ACCU delegation explained the cases and presented all the evidence and as a result the World Bank Project Coordinator followed up the case and alerted the police. ACCU and RAC also involved the IGG and other relevant offices. Following leads from RAC, the culprits were arrested and imprisoned and later transferred from Fort Portal to Kampala, where they were charged in the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court. Back in Bundibugyo, the contracts were re-advertised and new contractors have since started work on the projects.
It is anticipated that the culprits will be convicted which will serve as a deterrent to others. The success of this action has strengthened community members’ awareness of their role in demanding for accountability and transparency in public services.