The Inspectorate of Government (IG) is facing severe criticism from anti-corruption activists following its decision to withdraw bribery charges against David Livingstone Ebiru, the former executive director of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
The move has raised concerns that the ombudsman’s actions may not align with the fight against corruption.
A withdrawal form, dated October 26 and addressed to Chief Magistrate Joan Aciro of the Anti-Corruption Court, indicated that the IG had not provided reasons for its decision.
The withdrawal form, signed by Deputy Inspector General of Government Patricia Achan Okiria on October 25, stated, “Take notice that the government of Uganda intends that the proceedings against Livingstone Ebiru shall not continue.”
Mr. Ebiru’s case had been adjourned to October 31.
He was to appear in court on July 26 to face charges related to his alleged confession of paying a Shs100 million bribe to members of the National Standards Council (NSC) to retain his job.
This confession had been made before the Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (COSASE).
The withdrawal of charges has drawn criticism, with Joel Ssenyonyi, the chairperson of COSASE, describing it as unfortunate.
He expressed the view that corruption plays a significant role in holding the government together, making it challenging to combat.
Marlon Agaba, the Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, accused the ombudsman of failing to coordinate effectively in the fight against corruption.
He questioned why the Inspectorate of Government pursued the case when Parliament’s investigation had not yet concluded.
On the other hand, Munira Ali, the Public Relations Officer in the IGG’s office, defended the decision, stating that they withdrew the case due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
She mentioned that the crime required proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which they couldn’t obtain at the time.
Additionally, she explained that Mr. Ebiru had withdrawn his confession in Parliament the following day, further complicating the case.
Munira assured that the Inspectorate of Government is still investigating UNBS and will take necessary action when their investigation is complete.