Uganda Monitor: $300 Million Lost to Corruption Per Year; Much Foreign Aid Gets Into Wrong Hands

While the Ugandan Parliament sounds a defiant tone to threats of removal of donor aid over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the government would be hard pressed to make up the loss of funds. According to this Monitor (Uganda) report, Uganda relies on funds from donor nations to account for 29% of the national budget. A significant portion of money, $300 million, is lost to corruption according to the World Bank.

On point, The Monitor also recently revealed that MPs get the equivalent of just over$44,000 to purchase a car. This news sparked outrage among civil society in Uganda. The Monitor reported:

Outpourings of disbelief mixed with anger at a House which has been applauded for taking a firm stand against waste in government clouded the re-opening of Parliament as members struggled to defend themselves.

Civil society leaders described the MPs’ gleeful acceptance of the cash as “greed of the highest order”.

“This issue of the vehicles for MPs shows that the 9th Parliament is no different from the rest. It is a shame that they too have turned into vultures,” the Executive Director Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, Ms Cissy Kagaba, said.

“These MPs should walk the talk about being pro-people. The opposition too shouldn’t be part of the loot. This money should be returned and used to increase teachers’ salaries.”

Such public extravagance might concern American taxpayers who are also tightening their belts amid a bleak economy and are worried that their dollars support a government poised to impose the death penalty on HIV positive gay people, with life in prison for others. In fiscal year 2010, the United States pledged over $382 million in economic aid. That does not include over $36 million in military aid. Overall, Uganda is within the top 25 recipients of American foreign assistance.

While donor nations have a significant investment in Uganda and the region, there might be a point at which the American public will voice concern. A lack of respect for basic human rights, corruption and cronyism are factors that may work together to extend the budget tightening from here to Uganda.

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  • Maazi NCO

    Its funny Americans never expressed these concerns for decades that corruption was holding sway down here despite the cries of civil society and political opposition. But once anti-gay bill is about to be debated in parliament, you people conveniently remember corruption. What a joke !!! I am one of those who actually support the cutting of donor aid (after all it hardly gets to the ordinary man in Uganda). Bring it on !!!

  • Maazi NCO

    On a lighter note, I cannot help, but notice cash-strapped UK begging India to accept donor aid packages. India says it does not need aid, but UK insists India needs it. Who is deceiving who? Nobody gives aid packages out of the bottom of their heart. People give aid so that they can control the receipients. It is called “influence-peddling”.

    India is the subject of fury in UK because despite receiving donor aid from UK to the tune of one billion pounds (1.58 Billion US dollars), Indian government officials refused to buy British produced jet fighters and bought French ones instead. French donor aid to india is peanuts compared to the British largesse.

  • Lynn David

    Maazi….. Its funny Americans never expressed these concerns for decades that corruption was holding sway down here despite the cries of civil society and political opposition.

    Many an American has been bitching about foriegn aid to pseudo-democratic countries with tin-horn dictators who either rob their national treasuries blind or allow other to do so at least since the Nixon administration. Maybe if we get a Republican in office he’ll cut out such foolishness. Afterall, it can be the conservative thing to do. Get your own house in order.

  • anteros

    tolerance (both local and international) towards poor governance has a threshold, which is being seriously tested by boldly unconstitutional discrimination, rapidly escalating corruption and increasing impunity.

  • Richard Willmer

    I’ve not heard any ‘expressions of fury’ against India!

    And against Uganda? Well, …

  • Richard Willmer

    (When I hear ‘expression of fury’ that are not appropriately focused, I do explain that many Ugandans, for a variety of reasons, don’t like the Bill.)

    What make of car will ‘Maazi’ get, I wonder?

  • Robert

    I too believe the so called donors or development partners as they prefer being called directly benefit from the corruption in Africa as evidenced by their support to corrupt regimes on the continent. Like in the time of slave trade our leaders on the continent have connived with these countries to sell out their people and mortgage the lives of the citizen to the greedy donors. For God’s sake why would a country continue giving aid to the other even when they know the money they give is embezzled by the greedy leaders who invest back into these so called developed countries if its not intentional and conspiracy? Why would donors threaten to cut aid to Uganda just because we dont want gay-ism in our country but keep praising the corrupt leaders on the continent. I lost trust in these so called donors they are monsters who are have teemed up with our greedy, selfish leaders to steal our resources and inflict pain on the masses. May God save us from these selfish creatures