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Nature and Extent of Corruption in Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda

A Research Report

Submitted to

Anti-Corruption Coalition, Uganda (ACCU)


Julius Kiiza, PhD (Sydney)
First Class Master of Public Policy (Sydney); B.A Hons (Makerere)

Dept of Political Science & Public Administration

Makerere University,

September 2006

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations


Anti-Corruption Coalition, Uganda Auditor General Christian Children Fund Acenlworo Child and Family Program Chief Finance Officer District Education Officer Education Standards Agency Local Government Ministry of Education and Sports Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development School Facilities Grant School Management Committee The Apac Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda Development Corporation Uganda Debt Network Universal Primary Education


Executive Summary
This study examines the UPE program in Uganda, with a view to identifying the nature and extent of corruption therein. The focus is on five purposively selected districts – Apac in Northern Uganda; Hoima and Bundibugyo in Western Uganda; Soroti in Eastern Uganda and Mukono in Central Uganda. Apac was selected because of the vigilance of community-based actors such as Christian Children Fund Acenlworo Child and Family Program (CCF). Hoima was selected because it appears to be a ‘sane’ district. Mukono and Soroti were meant to factor the central and Eastern dimensions into our analysis; while Bundibugyo was chosen because corruption in that district took an ugly twist with the establishment of two ghost schools – Bundibugyo Public Primary School and Lamica Primary School. These ghost schools received UPE funds between 1998 – 2003 to finance ghost infrastructure, pay ghost teachers and teach ghost pupils.

The high level of corruption in UPE seems to confirm the claim by Uganda’s development partners, that corruption in Uganda is pervasive and institutionalized. If this is true, the delivery of pro-poor primary education will be compromised. Hence the need to present evidence that will be used for urgent interventions, including, but not limited to, NGO advocacy work. The object of this study, then, was to contribute to the emerging culture of evidence-based advocacy work and policy influence. The ultimate goal was to fortify the struggles of anti-corruption institutions like ACCU and promote accountability, transparency and effectiveness in the delivery of UPE.

The study was carried out between April and September 2006. Methodological triangulation was used. First, we reviewed the documents on UPE. [The Value for Money Audit report prepared by the Auditor General; the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) reports on UPE; relevant letters of key officials; the reports of major CSOs such as Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum and other studies were all reviewed]. Then, a largely qualitative analysis was done, focusing on the embezzlement of UPE funds, the corrupt tendering processes, the presence or absence of ghosts in the UPE sub-sector, as well as the key factors that promote or constrain accountability in UPE.

Our study participants were purposively selected from a broad spectrum of stakeholders – central government institutions, local government, national and local politicians, donors, CSOs, the academia and even the private sector.


The main finding of this study is that a lot of knowledge now exists within central government institutions, civil society and LGs on the nature, magnitude and negative implications of corruption in the UPE program. What is lacking is action.

We recommend tough action against the perpetuators of corruption. Corrupt or nonperforming companies should be ordered to refund tax-payers’ money. They should also be barred from winning further government contracts. Second, any public official who colludes with mafia companies to cause financial loss to Uganda must be declared a national enemy. They must be dismissed and their property attached until they refund the monies. We also recommend the introduction of positive motivators or “enhancers” such as the CAO of the Year; DEO of the Year, CFO of the Year; CSO of the Year, Headteacher of the Year, and Contractor of the Year awards. These should be granted to individual or institutional actors who excel in fighting corruption or delivering value-for-money services. Fourth, a broad coalition of stakeholders should be mobilized in the struggle against corruption. Government officials, faith-based organizations, families, schools, colleges and universities, and CSOs all have a role to play. Fifth, we call for deliberate efforts to restore public sector ethics and build nationalism. In Tanzania, recruits into the public service are made to swear: Kila Mutanzania ni Ndugu Yangu! [Every Tanzanian is my brother/sister]. This political religion, which is crucial for nation-building, should be adopted by Uganda. Nationalism should be taught in families, schools, churches, government institutions and even CSOs. Sixth, institutional capacity development should be encouraged. Government should, for example, recruit, train and deploy bursars/accountants at every UPE school. There is also need to equip school inspectors, Headteachers, and members of the SMC in basic financial management skills. PTAs, CSOs and other grassroots institutions that hold public officials to account should also be trained in basic accounting. The aim is to enable them make sense of basic things like reading a balance sheet. But that is not all. Public education should be enabled to compete with the best privately provided education. To make this happen, the Education Standards Agency, needs to be


government employess who are reasonably suspected to have caused substantial financial or material loss to the nation should be relieved of their duties in the public interest. However.strengthened as a basis for transforming boona basome (poor quality) UPE into high quality primary education. Together. PTAs. which are organs of civil society. the public agency should play a nurturing role (comparable to the developmental role of UDC) and should gradually let private companies take over construction tenders. the political will to fight corruption must be created through concerted civil society activism and donor pressure. To reduce the widespread “justification” of corruption as a coping mechanism. success stories of civil society organizations such as TAACC or CCF need to be reproduced in other districts. Finally. Additionally. adequate remuneration of civil servants and a stop on the hemorrhage of public resources needed for national development. poverty must be substantially reduced via progressive taxation. we can disable corruption. Moreover. Tenth. they will work tirelessly to enhance the quality of public education Eighth. Ninth. This agency should take charge of all local and central government construction work. 5 . given the technical incapacity of embryonic private companies. should be empowered to check the powers of the statutory SMCs. an entrepreneurial construction agency must be established along the model of the effective public construction agency of Rwanda. That way. Given the cunning nature of corrupt officials. individuals seeking to work directly for government as politicians or mainstream civil servants must be obliged to take their children to UPE schools and other public schools. the British legal tradition that calls for proof in the courts of law “beyond reasonable doubt” should be modified to suit Uganda’s national interest. The challenge is big but not impossible.

6 Outputs 1. Major Achievements and Challenges of UPE 4.3 Abundant Local Government Knowledge Exists 20 5. Awareness of Corruption: Is Inaction a Deliberate Government Policy? 7 8 9 9 10 11 12 13 13 15 16 4.4 Ghost Schools.2 High Knowledge Also Exists Among CSOs: The Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum 18 4.3 Flawed Tendering/Procurement Processes 5.3 Conceptualizing Corruption in the Primary Sub-sector 1. Introduction 1.7 Organization of the Report 2. Bundibugyo. Hoima. Findings from Apac.1 High Government Awareness Exists: Evidence from AG’s Report of 2003 16 4.2 Selected Cases of Theft and Embezzlement 5. Institutional Context of UPE 3.1 Magnitude of Corruption 5.1 Aim and Scope of Study 1. Conclusion: Proposed Solutions References List of Study Participants 21 21 25 27 30 33 38 42 43 6 . Mukono and Soroti 5.Table of Contents Executive Summary 1.2 Rationale of the Study 1. and Ghost Pupils 5. Ghost Teachers.4 Terms of Reference 1.5 Constraints to Accountability and Transparency in UPE Sector 6.5 Study Methodology 1.

(3) Promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Second National Integrity Survey. The misgovernance associated with corruption in the UPE program is one of the key factors that need to be addressed if the chances of delivering quality UPE by the target date of 2015 are to be boosted. 1 While international declarations on the universalization of basic education now abound. (7) Promoting environmental sustainability. April 2003 Large scale corruption and embezzlement at the top. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights was perhaps the first bold assertion. enlightened stakeholders realize that successful delivery of UPE calls for more than moralistic declarations. 2. youth and adult – has a right to basic education. Statement of Uganda’s Development Partners on Governance and Anti-Corruption.Notwithstanding Government’s many laudable policy and technical achievements. April 2003 1. (4) Reducing child mortality. that “everyone has a right to education. IGG. participants in the World Conference on Education for All. conventional delivery systems and forms of governance. assembled in Jomtien. Kampala. there is a widely help perception in Ugandan society that corruption is pervasive. all the 191 United Nations member-states agreed on a blueprint of eight “Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs). Introduction Over the last few decades. (2) Delivery of universal primary education. and (8) Developing a global partnership for development. (5) Improving maternal health. Thailand from 5–9 March 1990 asserted that education is a “fundamental right” for all. regional and international development goals. it appears. Among these MDGs. at the international level. 1 The full list of the MDGs is as follows: (1) Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Consultative Group Meeting. Article 1 of the Jomtien Declaration on Education for All provides that every person – child.” Forty years later. (6) Combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases. institutionalized and on the increase. has worked to encourage the proliferation of administrative corruption at the grassroots. the provision of universal primary education (UPE) by the target date of 2015 features as top-priority No. What is needed. universal primary education has gained broad acceptance as a key instrument in the pursuit of wider national. 7 . is an expanded vision that surpasses present resource levels. which is carried out with impunity. At the beginning of the 21 Century.

2006). (b) accountability for resources received in the previous financial year. have “ascertained” existence of schools in their areas of jurisdiction. The continued existence of ghost schools surviving on UPE resources seems to confirm the claim by Uganda’s development partners. 2 Hoima was selected because it appears to be a ‘sane’ district. 2006). namely Apac in Northern Uganda. was to examine the UPE program in Uganda. Sub-Counties. particularly the School Management Committees and the Chief Administrative Officer. Hoima and Bundibugyo in Western Uganda. 2006) – continue to drain tax-payers’ moneys.1. Ministry of Finance. then. with a view to identifying the nature and extent of corruption therein. then.1 Aim and Scope of Study The purpose of this study. while Bundibugyo was chosen because corruption in that district took an ugly twist with the establishment of two ghost schools – Bundibugyo Public Primary School and Lamica Primary School. the much cherished benefits of decentralized governance (such as bringing services closer to beneficiary communities) may be lost. Planning and Economic Development. which has ‘ghost infrastructure. UPE resource transfers from central government institutions (Ministry of Education and Sports. The existence of ghost schools is important for a simple reason. Mukono and Soroti were meant to factor the central and Eastern dimensions into our analysis. It has 600 Monitors in 50 schools (Interviews. 8 . Soroti in Eastern Uganda and Mukono in Central Uganda. If this is true. pay ghost teachers and teach ghost pupils (Interviews. that corruption in Ugandan society is pervasive and institutionalized. schools) are only effected after key LG authorities. Apac was selected because of the vigilance of community-based actors such as Christian Children Fund Acenlworo Child and Family Program (abbreviated as CCF). ghost teachers and ghost pupils’ (Anonymous Interviewer. 2 CCF is a civil society organization doing budget tracking in Kwani and Kole counties in Apac District. and (c) budgets for the next funding cycle. The focus was on five purposively selected districts. These ghost schools received UPE funds between 1998 – 2003 to finance ghost infrastructure. Other ghost schools – such as Bwirire Primary School in Teso. and Bank of Uganda) to local government institutions (Districts. UPE funds are transferred to district authorities after LGs have submitted to the centre (a) a list of pupils enrolled.

was to contribute to the emerging culture of evidence-based advocacy work and policy influence. 2004: 2). Monitor 23 April 2006 on alleged corruption scandal involving Keith Muhakanizi and his former political boss. it mainly involves small monies and limited valued resources. the embezzlement of UPE monies. As a result. isolated or systemic (ACCU. then. a study designed to document the magnitude of corruption in UPE will go a long way in presenting evidence for urgent interventions. NGO advocacy work. that is. Corruption takes place in the public. the vice continues unabated (see Monitor 26 March 2006 on Jim Muhwezi. the delivery of Uganda’s priority PEAP (Poverty Eradication Action Plan) outcomes (and the MDGs) is negatively affected. The object of this study. Second. 1. transparency and effectiveness in the delivery of critical pro-poor services such as UPE. Accordingly. the illegal delays or diversions of teachers’ salaries. It may be grand or petty. the reported problem of ghost teachers or pupils and other such vices have combined to compromise the quality. the flawed tendering processes. 38% in 2004 and about 40% in 2006). Isaac Musumba). corruption in the UPE sub-sector is important 9 . including.1. the private as well as the NGO sectors. The ultimate goal was to fortify the struggles of anticorruption institutions like ACCU and promote accountability.2 Rationale of the Study The rationale for grappling with the problem of corruption in the primary education sub-sector is two-pronged. our interest is in “official” corruption in the UPE sub-sector. Since the people living below poverty constitute a substantial proportion of the Ugandan population (35% in 2003. While corruption in the private and NGO sectors is undoubtedly important. corruption in the UPE sub-sector inevitably undermines long-term national development. the chances of the rural and urban poor (who predominantly populate UPE schools) escaping from extreme poverty are compromised. More importantly. Our research findings indicate that corruption in the UPE program is predominantly petty in nature. while several anti-corruption institutions (such as the IGG) and legal mechanisms (such as the Public Finance and Accountability Regulations of 2003) have been put in place to fight corruption. efficiency and effectiveness of UPE. This corruption is nevertheless significant because it appears to be systemic and/or has been reproduced over time. but not limited to. In other words.3 Conceptualizing Corruption in the Primary Sub-sector Corruption is a multi-pronged vice. First.

voiceless and powerless rural and urban poor via the misuse of official resources A vice that distorts and/or renders inconsequential the UPE educational services . contractors. Conduct in-depth studies and document relevant cases in at least four districts in Uganda.4 Terms of Reference The terms of reference given to us were as follows: Visit relevant government bodies. Document the key factors impeding accountability and transparency in the UPE program. corruption is conceptualized as: A force that disorientates planned expenditures within the primary education sub-sector from official work to private gain A practice that condemns to misery and social depravity the defenseless. 1. Headteachers. and A cancer that compromises the good use of public office. 10 . and The role of grassroots stakeholders (such as CBOs and SMCs) In all the above cases (which are consistent with our Terms of Reference (see Section 1. this study operationalizes and investigates corruption by focusing on the related issues of: Theft or embezzlement of public funds in the UPE sub-sector Flawed tendering processes Ghost schools. Because of the aforementioned problem areas. state power and expendable resources with the primary education sub-sector. some chairpersons of some School Management Committees (SMCs) and other actors. The main ‘beneficiaries’ are the corrupt politicians.because it involves the misuse of public resources meant to deliver critical pro-poor developmental goals (such as fighting illiteracy and rural poverty). ghost teachers or ghost pupils The key constraints to accountability and transparency in the UPE program.4 below). CSOs and major libraries and document the magnitude of corruption in the Universal Primary Education program. some Local Government officials.

ActionAid.Propose plausible solutions to ameliorate the identified constraints. (b) selected local politicians such as LCV and LCIII officials. relevant letters of key officials. Ministry of Finance. we reviewed the documents on UPE in Uganda. Quantitative approaches were limited to raw and semi-processed data from official sources. 3 It is worth footnoting that the CAO and Sub-country Chief are the government accounting officers at District and Sub-Country levels repectively. and (f) selected civil society organizations such as the Anticorruption Coalition. 11 . Government documents. and Bank of Uganda (BoU). 1. They were. government agencies and NGOs were particularly helpful]. It must be categorically stated that this study was predominantly qualitative. The Apac Anti-Corruption Coalition (TAACC). and Christian Children’s Fund Acenlworo Child and Family Program (CCF). the presence or absence of ghosts in the UPE sub-sector. studies of civil society organisations (CSOs) and relevant reports of donor agencies were consulted to contextualize our study and ensure triangulation. They included (a) selected officials of central government agencies such as MoES. as well as the key factors that promote or constrain accountability in UPE. important study participants. 3 (d) grassroots institutions such as the Local Councils and the School Management Committees (which are statutory organs representing government at the school level). therefore. and Collate and document all information in a manner that will have ease of reference. the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) reports on UPE capitation and schools facilities grants. After our critical documentary reviews. a largely qualitative analysis was done. First. (c) relevant local civil servants such as the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs). [The Value for Money Audit report prepared by the Auditor General (2003). District Inspectors of Schools. reports of CSOs such as Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum and other studies of individual researchers. Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Uganda (ACCU). Sub-country Chiefs and their teams.5 Study Methodology Methodological triangulation was used in this study. the corrupt tendering processes. focusing on the embezzlement of UPE funds. The study participants (representing the major institutional and individual stakeholders) were purposively selected.

We also carried out key informant interviews (KIIs) targeting people who are highly knowledgeable about the research issues raised in this study. which allowed for flexibility in the data collection process. the sample size does not compromise the validity of our findings and the reliability of our conclusions for a simple reason. Evidence-based recommendations necessary for ameliorating the problems of UPE.6 Outputs The major output of this study is a Report written in a simple. We attained this saturation point by the time we interviewed about 15 respondents for each district (giving an overall total of 60 respondents). particularly in the education sub-sector. however. and. Evidence shows that what matters more than a large sample in qualitative studies is the use of methodological triangulation. critical document analysis and literature review (using the literature search guide as a tool) were important sources of information for this study. Our study was largely qualitative. The study lasted five (5 months) between April and September 2006 – although most of the fieldwork was done in August and September 2006. A major principle of qualitative research – that is carrying out interviews until one reaches a “saturation point” – guided our research endeavors. singly or in collusion with other accomplices The critical role of nationalistic LG officials and CSOs in promoting transparency and accountability in the use of UPE funds Local Government institutional weaknesses constraining the effective delivery of value-formoney services. non-technical and policy-relevant language documenting the following: The major institutional players in the UPE program The real threat of abuse of UPE resources by unscrupulous contractors. As already hinted. this sample appears to be small (in comparison with the large samples used in quantitative studies). 12 . LG officials and some SMCs. At first sight. the representativeness of study participants and the seriousness of the interview effort – which were all taken care of in this study.Data Collection Techniques Different data collection techniques were used. Our KIIs used unstructured interview guides. 1. On deeper analysis.

which the Obote I government was signing with Ugandans. In the context of Uganda’s decentralized service delivery. USAID and World Bank). 13 . [It is President Milton Obote who announced in 1969 that universal primary education would be his government’s policy for the “Common Man”. Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED). Section 2 outlines the institutional context of UPE in Uganda and underlines the key institutional players involved in the flow of resources from the Centre (MoES. CCF. First is the highest institutional cum governmental level. the super-ministry of Finance. In a donor-driven economy like Uganda. and TAACC. the third level of institutions involved in UPE includes LG institutions (particularly the District and Sub-Country authorities). the flow of UPE resources takes place at three major levels (see Diagram 1). Section 4 follows with a presentation of the major findings and the relevant recommendations (on a case-by-case basis) for ameliorating the shortfalls identified. It is President Yoweri Museveni who ‘owns’ the current UPE when he announces in December 1996 that come January 1997. cabinet in general. which hold statutory LG actors to account for their commissions or omissions. etc) to the district and local levels.7 Organization of the Report The rest of this report is structured as follows.1. The top institutional players in the UPE policy also include Parliament. Bank of Uganda (BoU) and specialized groups or agencies (such as Education Standards Agency). Section 3 highlights the major achievements and challenges of UPE in Uganda. The report ends with a recap of our evidence-based recommendations outlining what needs to be done to disable corruption in the UPE sub-sector. Institutional Context of UPE In Uganda. BoU. MoFPED. virtually all of these are funded and/or have close partnerships with donors. thanks to the social contract (coined the Common Man’s Charter). and donor agencies (such as DFID. The second or “middle” level institutions involved in the UPE program include the line Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES). 2. Uganda would adopt a universal primary education policy]. This consists of a powerful presidency. the SMCs plus grassroots stakeholders such as ACCU.

Diagram 1: Institutional Framework for UPE Resource Flows in Uganda PRESIDENCY Parliament MoES Cabinet MoFPED D O N O R S Technical/ Specialized Groups D O N O R Central Bank NPA LG Actors S Grassroots Stakeholders (eg. Planning and Economic Development (most dominant ministry) National Planning Authority (Semi-autonomous. CSOs/NGOs) Source: Adapted from Kiiza. 2006 Notes: PEC MoFPED NPA UBoS CSOs/NGOs Presidential Economic Council: President (Chair) plus Ministers of economic affairs Ministry of Finance. et al. under supervision of MoFPED) Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Responsible for government data collection) Civil Society Organizations/Non-Governmental Organizations 14 .

for example. 2006). eradicating illiteracy). 2004: 10 emphasis added). The strategic role of the state in the provision of primary education signifies that the erosion of the quality and effectiveness of government-aided UPE schools (via.0 million in 1996 (before UPE) through 5. school enrolment has increased from 3. In pursuit of these cherished ends. wrong classroom to pupil ratios associated with delayed or incomplete construction of classrooms) will dramatically 15 . teachers on government payroll increased from 82. and equipping every Ugandan with the basic skills and knowledge needed for self and national development. The share of the education sector in the total discretionary recurrent budget has been over 30%. this section outlines the major achievements of UPE. The rate of increase in enrolment in government-aided schools exceeds that of overall enrolment in primary schools.148 to 147. 5% and 4% respectively.6 million in 2003. for example. notwithstanding the major achievements.3. The stated goal of UPE is to provide a critical mass of “facilities and resources to enable Ugandan children of school-going age to enter and remain in school and successfully complete the primary cycle of education”(MoES. The specific objectives of the UPE program include transforming society in a substantial way (by. As a result of increased resource commitments. private and community schools is 91%. with over 60% being allocated to the primary education sub-sector. Between 2000 and 2004. The proportion of enrolment in government-aided primary schools rose from 82% in 2000 to 89% in 2002 and 91% in 2004.3 million (1997) and 6. particularly after 2000.9 million (2001) to 7. and that if corruption in the UPE program is not disabled. the delivery of the much cherished pro-poor UPE targets may be substantially compromised. although the figure declined to 7. Major Achievements and Challenges of UPE Critical studies (such as this one) that focus on institutional ‘deviations’ from acceptable behaviour run the risk of appearing to be unappreciative of the positive achievements of Government programs (such as UPE). government expenditure on the education sub-sector has increased substantially.4 million in 2004 (AG.291. To avoid this error. The percentage distribution of pupils in government. eliminating gender and social disparities. 2003: 5. Data Base. MoES. The aim is to show that several problems persist.

In this key report (which was prepared for MoES) on the School Facilities Grant and the Capitation Grants (the main components of UPE finances). 4. 16 . that influence peddling was a major factor constraining transparency and value for money in the UPE program. the AG noted.1 High Government Awareness Exists: Evidence from AG’s Report of 2003 Evidence from different government reports indicates that government has high awareness of official corruption in general and abuse of UPE resources in particular. several shortfalls (such as shoddy construction work) have persisted.S had been commissioned by MoES officials as complete yet the walls were not plastered. Awareness of Corruption: Is Inaction a Deliberate Government Policy? A major question posed by this study is: Are the major actors aware of the magnitude of corruption in the UPE sub-sector? If so. among other things. The SFG tender agreement requires that payments will only be made for a stage of construction that has been satisfactorily completed and approved by the standard SFG certificate of works issued by the district.1 summarizes typical cases of payments for incomplete work in selected districts. While Uganda has made notable gains in the delivery of UPE. The AG established that “contractors obtained certificates for stages not completed and went ahead to get full payments in advance inclusive of retention fees” (AG. 2003: 8). retention money is to be paid after the defects period of 6 months. Table 4. A typical case in point is the Auditor General’s Value for Money Audit on the Universal Primary Education Program of July 2003. affecting the quality and accessibility of primary education. Sites are supposed to be completed within 3 months of commencement. The AG notes that: SFG classrooms at Bulunguli P. then. points to the need to strengthen specialized quality control institutions like Education Standards Agency (ESA). Moreover. This. the window bars were smaller than those recommended and the classrooms nether had concrete floor nor a blackboard. 2003: 9). is government inaction a deliberate policy perpetuated by central and local government officials? 4.lower the quality of national education and development. These classes were in use at the time of inspection (AG.

700. S Contractor Mutunzi C Mubangizi H Contract 35.616.149.100 8.578.S Abwanget Kuju PS Angatuny PS “SMC” 24. (The current classroom to pupil ration varies between 33 in Kalangala.700.000. 41 in Kampala and 47 in Wakiso to 103 (Apac). S Busuyi (1) P.443. 17 .825 34.The AG’s conclusion was that the targeted classroom to pupil ratio of 1:55 could not be achieved because of corruption in the UPE sub-sector.000 25.100 8.000 2.760. shoddy work Partly roofed Expected completion date Nov 2001 Nov 2001 Aug 2001 Mar 2000 Mar 2000 Mar 2000 Mar 2002 Pioneer Co of Amuria Larry Stationers Pioneer Co of Amuria Ludo Enterprises Welfare Agencies (Ally Hamya) Katakwi Tororo Tororo Odiding P.S Busuyi (2) P. Table 4.000 Feb 2001 Source: AG.825 Iganga Iganga Iganga Iganga Katakwi Katakwi Bulunguli P. S Bujuzya P.708.000 Amount Paid 34.000 17.443.000.149.000 8.1: Typical Cases of Payments for Incomplete Work in Selected Districts District Ntungamo Ntungamo School Rwanda P. giving the national average of 84 pupils per class).000 11.S Bugomba P.522.100 11.000 8.578.000 17. Classroom incomplete Done up to roofing Done up to roofing Done up to roofing Done up to roofing Partly roofed Water system not done valued at 2. Value for Money Audit on Universal Primary Education. government officials collude with contractors. 129 (Arua) and 185 in Pader.S Kachonga (Classrooms Kachonga (Furniture) P.708.000 23.000 8. Headteachers and other actors to abuse UPE resources.418.000 Partly plastered Not delivered after 2 years 2.S P.000 Status of Work on Inspection Roofing incomplete Latrine collapsed before completion.578.000 What is difficult to ascertain is whether widespread corruption within central and LG circles renders corruption the covert policy of the current government.314.149.S Nov 2001 Dec 2001 Feb 2001 20.418. In many cases.616.000 35.000 8.000 20. 2003: 9 Conclusion: It can be inferred from the above that government is aware of the problem of corruption in UPE.

IGG and PAC seriously. This Forum is an umbrella organization of CSOs operating in Bundibugyo district. S in Burondo Parish. The same Buhanda P. In Itojo Primary School. the walls and floor are cracking. the Headteacher withdraws the funds and uses them with no clear accountability.Recommendations: Central government authorities need to take studies of the AG.S. Second. the Headteacher convinces the chairman of the SMC to sign blank cheques. Later. 4. In its first and second Quarter Report of 2005. Even before completion. By May 2005. In Bundimbugha P. no work had been done.400. value for money is not exhibited. according to a leading member of the SMC.S. no pit-latrines have been constructed at the school. the 18 . district authorities must only pay for work that is completed and certified. must be charged with negligence of duty and ordered to pay for the losses incurred by the tax-payer. In Buhanda P. In the case of Bundimasoli P. but no action is taken against the culprits. 9 primary school girls are defiled in the first quarter.S in Bundiyama Parish. This arises from the shoddy work that has been done. the admission book indicates 503 pupils but the daily attendance list shows 250 pupils only. The cases are reported to the relevant authorities. money for August and September 2004 was not utilized at all for official purposes. Reports indicate that the Headteacher used up all the money and did not account for it. It operates through community institutions called the Community-Based Monitoring Committees that report on a quarterly basis to the Forum on the problems of corruption.000/= to repair the school building.2 High Knowledge Also Exists Among CSOs: The Case of Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum Evidence suggests that CSOs operating in Uganda are highly knowledgeable about corruption in UPE. S was given Shs 5. Third. engineers who certify stages as complete when they are not. The following examples serve to illustrate the point at issue: Karambi Primary School in Burondo Parish. the NGO/CBO Forum documents several corruption scandals in the UPE program. Itojo Parish. A dozen of pens costs 6. In Kyabandara P. The Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum is a case in point. is under construction in the first half of 2005. in the same Parish. Mitunda Parish.000/= when the retail price is 200/= per pen. Moreover. In the same school.

19 . Unfortunately. And so. The staff list indicates 7 teachers but only 3 are found at school. according to key informers. Pressure also needs to be stepped up to cause government to take action on those implicated in corruption scandals. But in the accountability report. uproot.723/=. These will probably result in reduced corruption. Moreover. Karugutu Parish. no serious action had been taken (by the time we did fieldwork) to kick corruption out of the primary education sector. 651 pupils were enrolled in the school but the actual headcount shows only 505 pupils. the school received 870. Recommendation: There is need for anti-corruption struggles to be broadened and deepened. The balance of Shs 37. The same school gets a new Headteacher in 2005. The old Headteacher does not officially handed over to the incoming Headteacher. Shocking corruption scandals have been unearthed.115/= is not accounted for. The school also collected Shs 3.000/= per parent per year. The July – September 2004 releases were not displayed on the notice-boards and no accountability is seen. We also recommend the provision of basic legal education to the citizens and the training of civil society institutions on the duty of citizens to take corrupt officials to court.000/=. When the Headteacher is asked ‘why’. A chalk board is shown to have cost Shs 260. accountability for UPE resources is not seen.000/= when the market price is between 50. Between February and June 2004.000/= and 80. They are working hard to expose and. Karugutu Parish. The Headteacher accounts for Shs 634.608/=.admission book indicates 400 pupils but the daily attendance list shows 250 pupils. but the transactions for this money cannot be seen because no records were kept.000/= yet the school has a store. More actors such as faith-based organizations and PTAs need to be mobilized and empowered to rescue pro-poor UPE resources. a store is rented in town at 60. Conclusion: It can be concluded from the above that CSOs and other grassroots monitors are not just knowledgeable about corruption in UPE. the funds released to the school in the first quarter of 2005 totaled Shs 669. the funds at this school are not used in accordance with the MoES guidelines.S. he explains that diversion of funds was caused by delays in the disbursement of funds from the centre. hopefully.S.000/= which he Headteacher accounted for. In Kasozi P. the vice in the primary education sector. In Karugutu P.

CR 207/1. Mugerra Martin and Byaruhanga Yusuf. Interviewees indicated that shoddy companies are able to metamorphose and survive because they are owned by influential (local) politicians and/or have “guardians” within government institutions. Buheesi Renovators & Contractors Ltd. Ltd. Mumbere Samson. (ii) Failure to do (i) above. LG institutions are critical players in the success or failure of government programs at district and local levels. Mr. Sunday Tadeo. SKP Building Contractors Ltd.4. the Bundibugyo CAO. Allied Building Contractors Ltd. “Mafia companies like Jamaica have given birth to new Mafia companies that are competing for LG tenders under the guise of new identities” (Interview with District Authorities. United Civil Engineering Standards Contractors Ltd. New Moon Investments Ltd. you will have completed the works and correcting the defects pending handover.3 Abundant Local Government Knowledge Exists Under Uganda’s system of decentralized service delivery. 20 . Rwenzori Snow Co Ltd. Pearl Engineering Ltd. Flamingo Construction Co. Monday Bernard. 4 The 26 companies or individuals are: Jamaica Contractors Ltd. Ref. Makune Sebbi. In a letter dated 18 October 2005. Rwatanite Friendly Group. However. Bakulihare Yokonia. John Asiimwe. Monday Sikahwa. Kibamba Semu. 2006). Busobozi Juma. Agro Initiatives Ltd. will show that you are sabotaging government programs and the law will take its own course and also the concerned companies will not be recommended for prequalification for more jobs next financial year 2006/2007. No. You are therefore in the process of being blacklisted… The interviewees we talked to indicated that John Asiimwe’s tough anti-corruption stance has led to a substantial reduction in corruption in the district. Kaba Civil Engineering Ltd. Mbusa Gideon. writes a staggering 26 companies or individuals warming them that they had violated their contractual obligations by doing incomplete and/or shoddy construction works for government. 4 The CAO’s letter is worth quoting at length: You are aware that you entered into a contractual agreement to perform construction works … and you have failed to carry out your obligations for the said contract and the inspection carried out from 28th September 2005 to 13 Oct 2005 by my Technical Staff indicated that the work is incomplete and there are defects on some sites dues to shoddy work… Your actions now constitute a breech of contract and you are therefore notified and demanded to comply with the following: (i) That within 3 weeks time from receipt of this letter. Balyeijukya Peter. Musinguzi Robert. Ltd. Jan & M Co. Documentary evidence shows that many LG authorities have abundant knowledge of corruption and resource waste in the UPE program.

This would be a futile exercise given that reliable quantitative data on corruption (in Uganda) does not exist (and is unlikely to exist in the foreseeable future. CSO of the Year and Contractor of the Year awards. ghost teachers or ghost pupils. The information is organized thematically in accordance with our ToRs. Hoima. we present findings on: (a) The magnitude of corruption in the UPE sub-sector (b) The theft or embezzlement of UPE funds (c) The flaws in the tendering/ procurement process (d) The issue of ghost schools. These should be given to individual or institutional actors who excel in fighting corruption plus companies that deliver value-for-money services. Accordingly. 5. Findings from Apac.Conclusion: While a number of government officials collude with corrupt companies and individuals. What this section does is to give a vivid description of the gravity of corruption using primary (qualitative) responses from our interviewees. Headteacher of the Year. and (e) The key constraints to accountability and transparency in UPE. 5. Bundibugyo. We recommend the introduction of the CAO of the Year. These positive incentives should augment the severe sanctions that should be imposed on corrupt officials and contractors. given the clandestine nature of most corruption-related behaviours). Mukono and Soroti in Comparative Perspective This section presents our major findings from primary sources in comparative perspective. CFO of the Year. DEO of the Year. Effective anti-corruption officials and cases should be showcased to demonstrate to the country that there is hope in the struggle against misgovernance.1 Magnitude of Corruption This section does not pretend to present “hard” quantitative data or statistical evidence of the trend and magnitude of corruption. Recommendation: The anti-corruption crusaders should ally with the morally upright government officials (such as John Asiimwe) to expose corrupt practices and reduce abuse of public resources. not every government official is corrupt. 21 .

if ever. in the opinion of our interviewees. Asiimwe has taken corruption in the district headon. The Chairperson of the SMC for Arapai Primary School complained: People accuse Headteachers of “eating” UPE monies. [This view upholds the claim of President Museveni that corruption under his government has not increased. As a follow. the shoddy construction work that used to be performed by Mafia companies such as Jamaica is no longer tolerated (Interviews. Mr. media coverage and publicity on FM stations. is not a sign of corruption. It is necessitated by the real challenges on the ground. corruption in UPE was increasing. Diversion. The responses were mixed. improved school inspection. According to the Deputy DEO of Bundibugyo district. In the UPE program. was the reportage on corruption. To keep the schools running. arising. decreasing or fairly constant between 1997 and 2006. The alternative available to school authorities is to close the schools and wait for UPE resources from the centre. The mismanagement of UPE funds has been going down because of the advent of a new CAO [Mr John Asiimwe] who came to Bundibugyo in July 2004. in this case. Soroti District also argued that corruption was under control.” This arguably arises from the need by Headteachers to keep the schools running as they wait for delayed releases of resources from the centre. according to respondents. we conducted in-depth interviews to establish whether. August 2006). Unlike previous Local Government officials and some CAOs in other parts of Uganda. The real problem is that money is little and is hardly. Most CAOs and other local civil servants pointed out that corruption was on the decline. school authorities are forced to divert some UPE resources to finance critical needs. What was on the increase. that what has increased is arguably the exposure and media coverage]. but this is not the case. the Headteacher of Aminit primary school in Kamuda Sub-County.Reference has already been made to documentary evidence showing that the magnitude of corruption in the primary school sub-sector is high. Mr. it was argued. from increased civil society activism. released on time. Michael Asaku. He however conceded that the guidelines pertaining to use of UPE funds are typically “adjusted. 22 .

A substantial number of respondents argued that UPE money is too little to be embezzled and that by the time it is received. mission-driven children are difficult to bribe. Unlike adults who may be compromised. and Arapai Sub-Counties around 2002/2004”. worsened by the absence of professional bursars or accountants in primary schools. However. and accountability for. No instances of embezzlement were reported at the level of allocation of funds to schools. according to the Coordinator of the Apac Anti-Corruption Coalition (TAACC). 2006). In his opinion. gone down. Headteachers incur debts and pay later when the monies arrive”. according to respondents. In Kwania and Kole Counties where the Christian Children Fund (CCF) operates. Delays in the release of UPE finances cause challenges in the use of. “The people who misappropriate public resources are getting more cunning in the way they do their things. In short. Mr Tom Oponya. UPE funds. “Reports of misuse of funds were last made in 2002/2003 in Gweri Primary School . A key official from the Internal Auditor’s office revealed that most of these cases arose out of limited knowledge of financial management by Headteachers. “CCF empowers children to monitor the use of UPE funds. it is done in a hidden way. At one time. the vice has. Most of the Soroti schools we visited display the amount of funds received and how it is allocated. Gweri Sub-County. The Deputy DEO of Soroti. also argued that “UPE funds do not come promptly. “Before the Ministry of Education and Sports started buying text books for schools. the Headteachers would deceive our monitors that UPE money was being used to buy textbooks. HeadTeachers now know everybody is watching them so they do not divert the money” (Program Officer. Mr Everest Okello. Other cases were reported in Kateta. the trend of corruption is not visibly changing for the better. 2006). corruption was on the decline. According to Grace Ocare. corruption was seen as bribery and normal but now. and Serere Primary School in Serere township. Yet 23 . According to the Assistant DEO. Headteachers typically spend the money before it is received and accounts for it later” (Interviews. “the Headteacher has incurred so many debts to keep school running. Kadungulu. It has completely changed form but there is no peculiar reduction” (Interviews. CCF).

creating business for shops in which he had private interests. to establish whether (a) the practices still existed. it is difficult to verify whether what is on paper is on the ground. 2006). 2006). or (c) whether the DEO was. 2006). So. This view was upheld by David Obwang. or their receipts would not be recognized” (Interview. In Soroti. Some even have forged stamps and receipt books. Headteachers have ties with suppliers of school requirements. (b) whether the DEO wanted to ensure that UPE schools get quality materials from verified shops. (Program Coordinator. ActionAid Uganda). it is possible that such influences still exist. not being bought. While uncritical auditors may find Headteachers with “proper” receipts. Besides. This creates conflicts of interest. some Headteachers were ‘strongly encouraged’ to purchase school supplies from ‘certain’ shops – such as Tick or Malta shop – which dealt in UPE materials. A key informer revealed that while those shops are no longer existing. Kitoba Sub-County (Hoima District) presented a nuanced view. According to him. The DEO would direct Headteachers to buy from certain shops. Collusion between the Headteacher. Overt corruption may have reduced. Further investigative studies are necessary]. [We lacked the time and financial resources needed for prolonged stay in the field. the Chairman of the School Management Committee and suppliers of stationery and other school facilities has continued to cause the loss of UPE resources. they present “evidence” of items procured which is not correct in the real sense. Buhamba Parish. a SMC member revealed: “Headteachers also function as purchasing officers. Yet. Now that the Ministry buys the books for schools and since CCF also buys some books for schools. in essence.” Mr Nebba Insingoma. the truth of the matter is that the price of most items purchased is inflated. in actual sense. former LCII Chairman. I am convinced UPE is not taking us anywhere (Interviews. but covert corruption is still a problem. According to him. Headteachers can no longer give lame excuses (Interviews.the books were. Asuret Sub-County. 24 .

” [The CAO could not recall how much money was involved and was not in position to find out at that stage. for example.” The most shocking evidence of embezzlement was obtained from Apac. said there are important cases of misuse of UPE money. According to the CAO. Some Headteachers have been dismissed. In one of the PTA meetings held in 2003. it was established that the Headmaster had withdrawn 2 million from the bank and left a balance of only 200 shillings” (CCF Interviews. 25 . but the greatest tool we use is to target their salaries. In Soroti. “In Apwori Primary School.Conclusion: Corruption is clearly more serious in some districts than others.2 Selected Cases of Theft and Embezzlement We found no shocking evidence of theft or embezzlement of UPE resources in Hoima and Mukono districts. However some species of corruption (such as diversion of funds to keep the school running) are associated with institutional weaknesses. “There are some important cases of misuse of money. train and motivate bursars/accountants who should now be deployed at school level. the Headteacher used to forge the signature of the SMC chairman and obtain money from the bank. he would keep deceiving the CCF Monitors that he was not getting UPE funds. 2006). and (b) recruit.’ We keep on deducting a certain percentage from the salary until the stolen money is recovered. “In Agorigori Primary School. 2006). the Headteacher of Agorigori Primary School failed to account and was reprimanded. He was simply transferred – a kid’s glove approach to corrupt practices indeed (Interviews. government should make an effort to: (a) minimize delays in the disbursement of UPE funds. Recommendations: As anti-corruption institutional and individual actors step up the struggle against corrupt practices (such as the collusion between different UPE stakeholders). According to key informers. Another key institutional problem is the absence of professional bursars or accountants. Corruption in UPE continues to be associated with deficiencies in public sector ethics and the associated selfishness of key actors in the UPE sub-sector. particularly the delays in the release of UPE funds from the centre. which was also attended by members of CCF. Chawente Sub-County. Mr. the Headteacher’s services were not terminated. which we ‘tax. 5. given that our visit was “impromptu”]. George William Omuge. the Headmaster failed to account and was put to task. the CAO. However. One time.

250. This Headmaster closed the school one week to the official date of closure (in 2005). The CCF office wrote the Headmaster twice to go to CCF and explain but he did not. Ojuka. Omara and Benon Ogweng [District Court. he asked for transfer and went away. When the CCF monitors went to his office. According to interviewees. [The 20. Lawrence Adonyo. Mr.000 bank notes are kept on the file]. put names without signatures. The same Headteacher purchased a Nokia mobile phone at Shs.000/= from the first Quarter of the 2002 budget that was meant to purchase school furniture. under Criminal Case No. He eventually lobbied the DEO to transfer him.000 and 10. It was further revealed that CCF child monitors were sent to the Headmaster’s office to make a follow-up and monitor the use of UPE resources. the Headteacher used the money to cause the “release” of the following people who had been imprisoned at the Central Police Station. He was suspected to have misappropriated UPE funds. “This was a classic case of the biblical Davids of today confronting the biblical Goliath” [1 Samuel 17: 45-57]. The DEO obliged. misappropriated money in a crude way. Chawente Sub-County also used to misappropriate UPE monies by buying less UPE materials than he was supposed to buy. 2006).Grade II Magistrate. During the holidays. 630. Now he is a changed man” (Interviews. The Headmaster of Boda Primary School. However. Newton Odyek. forge the signature of SMC Chairman and withdraw the money. Apac District: Francis Okello Francis. The monitors did not keep quiet but instead took the money to CCF offices. The Headmaster bribed the child monitors with 30. CCF monitors reached his school and put him to task. “He could write his own minutes. 2006). In 2003.000/= to keep quiet. Apac. 26 . “He thought because the road to his school was poor. the Headteacher of Arido Primary School. 413/2001). L. he was not in office” (CCF Interviews.The Headteacher of Adigo Primary School diverted a sum of Shs. Another case involved the Headmaster of Ogil Primary school in Nambieso Sub-county. The case was not followed. CCF Program Officer.000/= without supporting SMC minutes. [The Headmaster ran away before CCF could establish how much money he had misappropriated]. Opio Atedero. he couldn’t be apprehended. before Levi Atepo.

is dirty local politics. the state. Second is. We observed that the timber used was of poor quality and was warping.Conclusion: Abundant evidence exists suggesting important cases of theft/embezzlement of UPE resources. First is the increased vigilance and activism of civil society organizations. Two issues run through. However. The District Inspector forced the pupils to enter but the PTA refused for fear the building would collapse on their children any time. we found Kibingo Moslem Nursery and Primary School in Kyabigambire Sub-County to be a distinctive case of shoddy work. their property should be attached till the stolen monies are recovered. while the latter should be fought. The cement finishing on the floor has already worn off. In Hoima (which is widely believed to be a “sane” district). which will certain not happen (unless remedial measures are taken). the “kids’ glove” form of punishment dished out to the perpetuators of corruption.e too little cement). This tough approach has helped countries like China to substantially reduce official corruption. The building has been rejected by parents. this building is supposed to last 30 years. The Chairman of the SMC for Kibingo Muslem School said he never signed the completion certificate. unfortunately. Constructed only in 2004/2005. Recommendation: The vigilance of civil society organizations based in Apac (and Bundibugyo) should be extended to other parts of Uganda. suggesting that wrong cement to sand ratios were used (i. The former should be encouraged. suggesting poor workmanship. who appears to have connived with the former Headteacher.3 Flawed Tendering/Procurement Processes Flawed tendering/procurement processes were reported in all the districts we studied. He argued that he was supposed to sign but was bypassed. Some of the school walls are not straight. At the core of the above shoddy work. 5. which monopolizes the legitimate use of force. The former 27 . If this does not work. according to the Deputy Headteacher. if this activism is to deliver improved propoor services. The contractor TUIKATE represented by Jackson Mutegeki is a front for the Speaker of the District Council. Yet the contractor received full payment (except the retention fee). It should be tried in Uganda. needs to get serious. Corrupt officials should be dismissed. The veranda has already separated from the main wall. They must also be caused to refund the lost monies.

A leading LG official who asked for anonymity stated thus: Our District Tender Board is. But how easy is it to tell a company owned by your local political boss that the contractor does not merit a certificate of completion? Your job would be at stake (Interviews. 2006). Imagine you are a District Engineer and your political boss (meaning District Councilors and LCV Chair) is involved. A firm competes for government contracts in a transparent manner and wins or loses on technical grounds. Your technical work will be heavily influenced by political considerations. Some councilors hide behind companies that are supposedly private. [Because of time and financial resource limitations. two private companies were repeatedly reported by respondents as key players in the flawed tendering/procurement processes – Kaba Civil Engineering Co Ltd (the first company 28 . 2006). In Mukono. For instance. But that is only true in theory. who is the district accounting officer. This. Sub-County Chief and Headteacher. political interference was also found to compromise meritocratic tendering processes. before contractors are fully paid. Since the Sub-County Chief is a “friend” of the LC III Councilors. in theory. in Koome Sub-County (located on Koome Island). a technical institution that awards tenders on merit. we were not able to independently verify this piece of information]. the Sub-County Chief owns a construction company called Surex Contractors. For example. was suspended in September 2005 and his salary withheld and later interdicted in June 2006 (Interviews. a certificate of supervision has to be signed by the District Engineer. the structures constructed by Surex Contractors are poor in quality. his work has not been queried (Interviews. use their political muscle to get contracts and proceed to do shoddy work. Yet. This company has been wining almost all construction tenders (eg to build primary schools).Headteacher Mr. the Engineering Assistant. the District Tender Board [now District Contracts Committee] was also riddled with corruption and influence peddling. 2006). In practice. then. politicians do influence the decisions of the Tender Board. In Soroti. Latif Kabuleeta. appears to be a distinctive case of connivance. In Bundibugyo. This complicates the work of district civil servants such as the District Engineer or the CAO. according to an influential local civil servant who requested anonymity.

That notwithstanding. Aduku Sub-County. Both pieces of assignment were done unprofessionally (See CAO’s Letter. In 2002/2003. but no action taken on the substandard work. this company belongs to Elisha Kyamukama. Jamaica has been winning a substantial number of LG tenders. Because of its political connections.that constructed a shoddy building at Bundibugyo Public School) and Jamaica Contractors.[Because of time and financial constraints. metamorphosed into new “Mafia companies” which continue to lobby for LG tenders. Jamaica Contractors is particularly notorious. one to build an office. Bundibugyo District. According to key informers. according to key informers. woman MP. notorious Jamaica wins three new tenders to construct (a) two classrooms at Bundibugyo Public School. All these were found to be shoddy (CAO’s Letter. a brother to Hon. Charles Apat who works in the Water Department and is also a UNICEF DIT member. we were not able to establish who these new companies are]. The company that did the construction is alleged to belong to one civil servant called Mr. The work was contracted to a company identified as CLEVE Adams. (b) two classrooms at Njuule Primary School. The work was abandoned at ring beam level and before completion of gable ends respectively. to construct a staff house at Bundimagwara Primary School. The latrine collapsed before use and no action was taken by the authorities. Payments were fully effected. A 5-stance pit latrine under UNICEF funding was allocated to Akwon Primary School Ongoceng Parish. 29 . [Time constraints could not allow us to verify this information with the Registrar of Companies]. 18/10/ 2005). Jamaica was awarded another two contracts in 2003/2004. a store and a 5-stance latrine at Busoru Primary School. and the other. in Ibuje Sub-county. 18/10/2005). Jamaica won two tenders to construct four class room blocks at Bundikakemba Primary School and four at Bundikahondo Primary School. In 2004/2005. While the new CAO and the DEO have mounted a struggle against Jamaica and other corrupt companies. A few examples will suffice here. and (c) an office and a store at Kaleyala Primary School.. Jane Alisemera. locally and nationally. There is substandard construction work at Alworoceng Primary School (toilet). Jamaica has. Comparable cases of corrupt tendering/procurement processes were found in Apac.

Payment was completed but no action was taken by responsible authorities. However. Our study uncovered three ghost schools – one in Teso and two in Bundibugyo. Loro Sub-County was done poorly. The Teso ghost school 30 . The toilet has collapsed. improved training in Kyambogo and Kichwamba technical institutions. for example. The work was sub. an issue that appears to challenge received wisdom that closer partnerships between the state and business companies provides hope for more effective public service delivery. ghost teachers and ghost pupils. there should be deliberate efforts to build the capacities of private construction companies – via. What Uganda needs is a clean. The same company owned by Felix Odur was contracted to construct a pit latrine at Amido Primary School. 5. The latrine collapsed soon after construction. has been a fertile arena for UPE resource waste. Recommendation: Several interviewees suggested that construction work should be taken off the weak shoulders of Local Governments and SMCs.4 Ghost Schools. Ghost Teachers. Kanya–Kanya Co. Conclusion: Tendering in general and construction work in particular.The construction of a pit latrine at Adigo primary school. while state leadership in the construction sector should continue. and Ghost Pupils Another issue worth noting is the problem of ghost schools. The company that was contracted to do the work belongs to one Felix Odur. Ltd was awarded a tender to construct a stance toilet in Nora Primary School. well resourced public construction company comparable to Uganda National Housing Corporation or the effective public construction agency of Rwanda. full payment was made and no action was taken on the shoddy work. These are nationalism/patriotism plus public sector ethics.standard and has cracks on floors and walls. The work was certified by District authorities. Yet payment was fully effected and no action was taken by responsible authorities to challenge the shoddy work. Aber Sub-County. This hardcore cum technical training should be backed by training in the soft sciences needed for national development and effective public service delivery. Resource waste has been perpetuated via corrupt public/private partnerships.

According to a key official of Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum. “Even when a teacher dies or is transferred.” In Apac.” 5 There are leading indicators that that the school was put up in a hurry. It is located in a valley with no space for expansion. said that ghost teachers occur when the death or transfer of a teacher is not followed. Indeed. and the District Inspector of Schools asserted that there are “no vacancies for ghost teachers” in Hoima District. which now has shoddy structures built by Jamaica Contractors. 5 The problem of ghost teachers was found to be relatively insignificant. Ntege. NGO/CBO interviewees pointed out that the DEO who connived with Councilor Nkayarwa. In Mukono. Justus Nkayarwa. Joseph Lubega (Education Officer). The school. Bundibugyo Public School is particularly an interesting case. [The last Management and PTA meeting took place on 10 September 2006]. the latrines are only a couple of metres away from classrooms. The structures which should last for 30 years (“completed” in 2004 ) are already collapsing. an Inspector of Schools. every teacher has a bank account where his/her salary is deposited. a report of IBM on Aduku Primary School (dated 17 August 2006). was demoted and retired. They just would not benefit from it. This reduces the incentives for any corrupt officials to create ghosts. But this problem is not systemic. but she still gets her salary (as a ghost). No land is ear marked for staff quarters. Mr. Robert Odoc was not teaching but was getting a full salary. according to interviewees) and the two in Bundibugyo are Lamica Primary School and Bundibugyo Public School (both of which have since been formalized). [He later on died]. It got UPE monies till 2003 when it was “discovered”. The Assistant DEO of Soroti argued: “You can’t completely rule out the possibility of a ghost teacher or ghost pupil here and there. the late Philemon Byakutaaga. It has 289 pupils. No sufficient space for co-curricular activities exists (eg for children to play during break time). which was submitted to TAACC shows that one teacher. was formalized in 2004. For one thing. the school started in 1998 as a ghost that was propped up by the area Councilor. retired in 2002. benefits from WFP foods and is fully government aided. is headed by Mrs Proscovia Bisabali. it is hard for anybody to benefit from ghost teachers. In Hoima. with an update of official records. Ruth Akello. Dr. 31 .is called Bwirire Primary School (which is still nomadic. Patrick Mwesigwa (CAO). [The monitors claim he is an alcoholic although the Headmaster told them he was sick]. Another report of TAACC monitors dated 19 August 2006 shows that in Kamdini Primary School. It is minor. The Chief Accountant and Inspectors were transferred. immediately.

if an Inspector comes. we recommend the deepening of a culture of improved computerization and data management at District. finance officer. “But these were eliminated in 2001-2002. Amuria and Katakwi were still part of Soroti District – it was too big. Moreover. such a pupil should not be put on the next page. You can verify this independently. According to the Deputy CAO.Ghost pupils were found to be a more serious problem than ghost teachers. 2006). a daily attendance list is displayed on the notice-board by the class teachers showing the number of those present and those absent. 2006]. The County Inspector of Buhaguzi County also said that the way registers are designed cannot allow existence of ghost pupils. This calls for reliable power. display of attendance lists. Headteacher or SMC member who is found to perpetuate ghosts should be dismissed forthwith and forced to pay back lost UPE resources. Generators 32 . “Hoima is the leading district in payrolls without ghosts. the Inspector of Schools. Inspections is carried out every after 3 months to verify and/or clean up school records. the CAO argued that there cannot be ghost pupils under his administration. revealed that cases of ghost pupils were common when Kaberamaido. It seems reasonable to conclude that ghost schools. during term II in 2006. Sub-County and school levels. The list is gender disaggregated. According to a CCF Programe Officer. close Inspection plus monthly submissions of student enrolments to the district have eliminated the possibility of ghost pupils in Hoima. Second. DEO. Thus. In short. Chawente Sub-County (Apac). Any CAO. Peter Okubu. In Soroti. District Inspector. Conclusion: Tough actions from assertive district authorities appear to have caused substantial reductions in UPE resource misuse. the Headteacher inflated the number of pupils in the school to obtain UPE monies. In Hoima. ghost teachers and ghost pupils can hardly exist without the collusion of LG authorities and the school administration. “The actual number of pupils is 277 but the man is using over 900 pupils” (Interviews. I added] has to count students who are present and verify the numbers displayed on the notice board” (Interviews. Recommendation: A culture of zero-defects and zero tolerance of ghosts should be cultivated. he [“or she”.” [Time and resource constraints made it hard for us to do national level verification of this claim]. “If a pupil is absent for a prolonged period.” In the case of Abapiri Primary School.

In theory. DEO and CFO are the signatories to the Education Sector Account.should be budgeted for and supplied to these different units as local communities await effective rural electrification. Accountability for UPE funds comes from the school authorities. with the Auditor General exercising regularity cum compliance functions. 5. Omwana akulema mu buto mbu ndimuzala mubukadde! [A Luganda proverb meaning: Time is money! Anybody who wishes to made dramatic changes does so before the appropriate opportunity wanes]. Headteachers are provided with vote control sheets. Another academic (Political Science. Each school has a Finance Committee consisting of teachers who are headed by a Deputy Headteacher. When UPE monies are received. the Committee makes a budget and submits it to the School Management Committee. a bottom-up approach to accountability is used. It is PR [public relations] gymnastics at its best. Several factors were found to constrain accountability and transparency in the use of UPE funds. “These people have been around for 20 years. They receive UPE funds from the centre. sign school cheques and deposit them at school accounts (in Stanbic Bank). The truth of the matter is that top politicians (and some bureaucrats) are unwilling to dismantle the corrupt practices that have enabled them to build economic empires via crony capitalism. None of the schools we visited lacked this institutional/procedural arrangement. Top NRM-O politicians claim that official corruption will be dealt a heavy blow under their newly re-elected government. cash books and cash analysis books. According to a leading legal scholar. First. the Head teacher may not withdraw or spend UPE monies without the approval of the SMC.5 Constraints to Accountability and Transparency in UPE Sector Under the system of financial decentralization. A top minister is censured for impropriety but is recycled by the appointing authority 33 . Makerere University) stated: “This claim of the regime in Kampala is of rhetorical value. is lack of political will to fight corruption. They are accountable to the CAO (the chief accounting officer in the district) who works with the DEO and the CFO. The CAO. The CAO has overall accountability for resources spent in the district and is accountable to the MoES (which works on financial matters in partnership with the MoFPED).

Robert Rutaagi. They were baptized into Christainity or socialized into Islamic moral principles. and feeds his or her family on beans and cassava. According to one study participant. the Toms. This has been a problem since Amin’s time. builds mansions in 12 34 . The disconnect between the strict moral principles of Christianity or Islam and the moral degeneration of public officials suggests that Uganda has a complex ethical problem. All they get as ‘punishment’ is a sack (sic). “You can’t do anything about it. “Even if Museveni is replaced with Besigye or Jesus Christ or Nabbi Mohammed. a former LCII Chairman (Hoima). He and his accomplices build mansions and drive prestigious vehicles. Moses or Mohammeds of this world. He is too dear to the appointing authority and must. This appears to uphold the proverbial assertion: “Fish starts rotting from the head. 2006). For Didson Kahunga (a private sector worker).” Closely related to above is the problem of widespread societal normalization of corruption. corruption will continue”. The minister squanders global funds for AIDS. and with them. Jacksons. is what most people claim. He is simply shifted from one fat position to another. puts public resources to official use. Where is the political will in all this to fight corruption? (Interviews. He can’t be touched. According to Nebba Isingoma. political and social systems. the boss of National Medical Stores. tuberculosis and malaria. Uganda has a gigantic problem: “A modest public official who is corruption-free is despised.who cites his ‘patriotic’ contribution to the bush war in the 1980s. A Headteacher or nurse works diligently. the claim is that corruption at the top permeates all administrative. He [or she] is blamed by society for being stupid. the extravagant one is praised.” The second problem is the death of morals and public sector ethics. He is involved in the delivery of junk helicopters which compromise our national security. Our morals have died. perhaps because ‘they fought’ or mobilized funds for the 2006 presidential elections. causes problems in virtually all public institutions where he is deployed. Other parts only follow. be elevated to a ministerial position. “most perpetuators of corruption in UPE are the Mathews. None of their ill-gotten wealth is touched. A revenue officer or MP grabs public monies. public ethics. walks on foot or moves by public means. In short. ironically. A top army officer asks for bribes to lubricate military procurement.

This seems to arise from the creation of too many political (and administrative) offices with no clear mandates and reporting relations.months. at district and sub-county levels. According to one Ugandan political scientist. This means Uganda’s inspectors lack the skills they need to do proper inspection. Most school inspectors were found to be former teachers who had no training in accounting. This is the problem we face as Ugandans. “ovamu omusayi?” (any bribe?) is what corrupt medical practitioners typically ask patients before attending to them]. Many have never used cashbooks: they only use cash analysis books and control sheets to show how much money has been allocated to different budgeted items. nevertheless. the delay in the remittance of UPE funds from the centre was cited as an important cause of “diversion of resources” from budgeted priorities. right and It is. political interference is another key constraint to accountability and transparency. “all these politicians have inflated egos. [Nothing gets done in the Land Office. At the national level. 2006]. the treasurer on the School Finance Committee) typically lack financial management skills. the institutional weaknesses of local authorities were found to be crucial impediments to accountability and transparency. As already hinted. political oversight is exercised by MPs. MPs who have been bribed left. for example. Fifth. third. Fourth. And in Mulago Hospital. [In Hoima. This is a form of corruption which is. however. This was gauged as having been timely but inadequate – Interviews. He is adored for being ‘smart’. Headteachers were taken through a one-day training workshop on how to account for UPE funds. Headteachers typically lack financial management skills. All these shortfalls compromise accountability and transparency in UPE. At village levels are the local councils of course. 6 35 . necessitated by the difficult contingencies school authorities often face. important to note that some SMC members are knowledgeable people such as retired civil servants or mansions who can detect shoddy construction work. Members of the SMC (including. 6 Sub-Counties (which are now important units of decentralization) have one Sub-Accountant whose workload demands more than they were professionally trained to handle. drives state-or-the-art prados and eats pork or chicken everyday. in most cases. by the District Council and Sub-County Councils respectively. At national level. for example.” A major consequence of this has been the institutionalization of a culture of bribe-giving and bribe-taking. unless one gives a bribe.

and market-based public admninistratin in the 1990s. they just lack the technical capacity needed to do high quality work. 2006. both public and private. backed by the deepening of the civic competencies of the citizenry (via political and legal education). Uganda’s MPs will even quarrel if you do not call them ‘Honourable’. They want luxurious. And the RDC claims he [or she] is the district boss given that RDCs are direct appointees of the President. There is therefore need for the strengthening of civil societies. Yet the CAO is the district accounting officer who will attract the wrath of the IGG or Auditor General if financial impropriety is discovered. According to Aaron Mukwaya. By this I mean. TAAC. are bicupuli [shoddy structures]” (Interviews. Activist CSOs like ACCU.” What merits emphasis is that all local politicians claim to be bosses of the CAO and other local civil servants. District and SubCounty Councilors think they are the ‘people’s parliament’ supposedly speaking for the common citizen. UDN. Most were hurriedly set up to exploit opportunities created by pro-market reforms such as privatization. But what is so honourable about allowing oneself to be bribed with a mere Shs 5 million as a basis for granting a Kisanja (third term) to the President? At the local government level. they are also corrupt by default. 1998). the weakened role of Parents/Teachers Associations (PTAs) under the system of “bonna basome” (state funded Education for All) was found to be problematic. elected by universal suffrage. Eighth.centre think they are so important that they must get Shs 60 million each from tax-payers’ money. They politically interfere in the awarding of tenders and may cause the CAO to make mistakes. Uganda’s relatively weak civil society was cited as a mixed blessing. Thus. “while many of these companies are corrupt by intent. Seventh. Most of the companies faulted for shoddy construction work have hardly spent 10 years in business. state-funded vehicles even when teachers’ salaries have not been paid for three months. contracting-out. That is why many recently-constructed building. However. Sixth. UPE has promoted political 36 . (Makerere University) “For all its good intentions. The LCV Chairperson claims to be the people’s president. Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum or CCF have struggled to hold different authorities to account for their commissions or omissions – a great achievement on a very risky subject matter. Uganda’s civil society is still generally weak and donor-dependent (Dicklich. the Ugandan private sector is still weak and unprofessional.

which used to be active in the past. as noted. present receipts that may be certified as “proper” when actually the items purchased were over-invoiced. but it is a roadblock in the struggle against official corruption. This is a mistake. the state has to find evidence to convince court beyond reasonable doubt that this URA official got monies from illegal sources. PTAs. or 37 .” This view suggests that PTAs. The truth of the matter is that poverty is biting hard in rural Uganda. If such people sit on SMCs. earning Shs 1. Using such dubious means. teachers (who are members of the rural elite) have been earning Shs 150. LC officials and citizens spend months without touching Shs 10. “beyond reasonable doubt” may further Western legal justice. the URA officer amasses wealth and is able to purchase a mansion worth Shs 400 million after 18 months of service.5 million monthly salary prove futile. Some think they have no role to play in the formulation of school policies. Till recently.underdevelopment and social irresponsibility. An official of URA who works for government on a full-time basis. This is done on the understanding that the millions that are not collected for government will be shared out equally between the URA officer and the importer. Proving.000/= a month. Additionally.000/=. national poverty is now on the increase again (estimated at 40% in 2006). Attempts by the state to probe how this full-time public official amassed this wealth so quickly on a Shs 1. in the English law tradition. national ‘averages’ need to be taken with care. should be revived and enabled to play a greater role in primary (and post-primary) education. A substantial number of parents now think they are not answerable for the provision of uniform. stationery or even lunch for their children. as they often do. [A number of Headteachers. Ninth. At the core of most of the above problems is poverty. While national politicians claim that national poverty has declined from 52% in 1992 to 35% in 2003. now play a reduced role in school affairs. there is a real problem associated with the legal justice system of Uganda. thereby pulling the national average up without corresponding improvements in the incomes of the rural and urban poor. as organs of civil society. For. thanks to the subtle culture of collusion that exists]. compared to the statutory SMCs. They appear to be impressive because the incomes of a few rich urban-dwellers have gone up substantially over the recent past.5 million a month may cause loss of public revenue by deliberately under-assessing the tax liability of imported products. Many local Government employees.

we now recap the following evidence-based recommendations as avenues for overcoming corruption. Politicians need to learn that their legitimate mandate is to exercise political oversight over technocratic civil servants. magnitude and negative implications of corruption in the UPE program. that firms such as Jamaica Contractors performed shoddy work and got paid before completion of their contractual obligations. promoting transparency and improving education service delivery. as 38 . is not just illegal. We recommend a tough approach to such malpractices. As Kahunga points out. Second. documenting and diagnosing the problem of corruption in Uganda’s UPE program. the temptation is too high. any public official who colludes with mafia companies to cause financial loss to Uganda must be declared a national enemy. we have made mini-conclusions and evidence-based recommendations (which we uphold here). Uganda’s politicians must “Let the Managers Manage!” The managers of government business are the technocratic civil servants who are recruited on merit. It is likely to deepen the problem of shoddy and/or incomplete classrooms. We have spent some time researching. It is widely known. stop. First. man cannot live without any bread” (Interviews. not the politicians who are often elected because they shout loudest. for example.have means of diverting UPE resources. Corrupt or non-performing companies should be ordered to refund tax-payers’ money and should be barred from winning any further government contracts. a lot of knowledge now exists within central government institutions. therefore. 6. Political interference should. not to push them around. The use of political power to shape technocratic decisions on issues such as what company qualifies for which tender. On every theme examined in this study. which will compromised the delivery of quality education services. civil society and LGs on the nature. For the avoidance of doubt. Conclusion: Proposed Solutions Chairman Mao Zedong argued that a correct diagnosis of any given problem provides more than 50% of the answer. “While man does not live by bread alone. 2006). They must be relieved of their duties forthwith. None of the problems bedeviling UPE and other local services will be resolved unless political interference is minimized.

colleges and universities need to promote legal education emphasizing the rights and duties of citizens and the remedies available to them if their individual or group rights are violated. Headteacher of the Year. These are the interventions that showcase success stories (such as the work of Bundibugyo NGO/CBO Forum or TAAC or CAOs such as John Asiimwe or even companies that perform well). for example. CSOs and other grassroots institutions that hold public officials to account should also be 39 . is a moral/ethical issue. Their property should be attached until they refund the monies. If the risk of corruption becomes high. institutional capacity development should be encouraged. recruits into the public service are made to swear: Kila Mutanzania ni Ndugu Yangu! [Every Tanzanian is my brother/sister]. train and deploy bursars/accountants at every UPE school. much as tough sanctions that deter negative behaviour are important. Nor would I delay teachers’ salaries or steal public monies. Fifth. Third. Public monies. must ensure that nationalism and public ethics are reestablished.investigations continue. and Contractor of the Year awards. There is also need to equip school inspectors. In Tanzania. and members of the SMC in basic financial management skills. to an important degree. Fourth. Schools. CFO of the Year. CSO of the Year. And if every other Ugandan or African is “my brother”. They are “my brothers”. Faith-based organizations (churches and mosques) need to call people back to their ethical values. the struggle against corruption calls for positive motivators or “enhancers” as well. The state. These should be given to individual and institutional actors who excel in fighting corruption or delivering value-for-money services to the citizenry. we recommend the introduction of the CAO of the Year. recruit. I will not construct shoddy classes that may collapse and kill innocent pupils. belong to “my brothers”. This is the political religion that Uganda needs to borrow. Families need to socialize children to become responsible citizens. corruption. Government should. DEO of the Year. many public officials will reform. PTAs. by definition. as the ultimate custodian of the public interest. CSOs involved in civic education need to penetrate society and empower communities with anti-corruption research and advocacy skills. It is a complicated issue calling for the active involvement of a broad coalition of stakeholders. Thus. Headteachers.

only to equip them with practical skills (such as making sense of a balance sheet). in the struggle against corruption. there is need to revisit the role of CSOs. need to be strengthened. given the huge developmental dividends associated with developmentalist states. specialized quality control institutions. The PTAs. Ninth.trained in basic accounting. But that is not all. What Uganda needs is a lead construction company along the model of the successful public construction agency of Rwanda. For. any public official who is suspected by a reasonable person to have caused substantial financial or material loss to the nation should be relieved of their duties in the public interest. For this institution to work. they will work tirelessly to ensure that the education standards of public institutions exceed those of private educators. the corruption-ridded state in Uganda must be transformed into a developmental state (along the model of post-war Taiwan or Korea). everyone stands to reap long-term gains if things go right. such as the Education Standards Agency. the British legal tradition that demands for proof “beyond reasonable doubt” should be modified to suit Uganda’s pressing national interest. Eighth. they should be 40 . Success stories of CSOs such as TAACC or CCF need to be spread and reproduced in other districts. The aim is not to transform them into financial experts. Thus. In the struggle against corruption. Seventh. Boona basome (poor quality) UPE needs to be transformed into high quality primary education. In addition to strengthening quality control institutions. which will serve as a foundation stone for high quality post-primary learning. The challenge is big but worth trying. What is needed is a new culture of continuous learning. Public education should be made to compete with the best privately provided education. One-day training workshops will not do. the embryonic and weak nature of most private construction companies seems to question the usefulness of conventional public/public partnerships in service delivery. which are organs of civil society. That way. Plus. individuals seeking to work directly for government as politicians or mainstream civil servants must be obliged to take their children to UPE schools and other public schools. need to be revived to check the powers of the statutory SMCs. and everyone ultimately loses if things go wrong.

being used by corrupt state officials to build crony capitalism. a broad coalition of forces must be mobilized. or military capacity.declared unfit to serve the public in a civil. Second. reward cronies with favours or bribe the opposition into silence. The challenge is big but not impossible. Together. adequate remuneration of government employees and a stop on the hemorrhage of public resources via corrupt practices. For all the above to work. This is the bitter but curative approach that is needed. the political will to fight corruption must be created. For God and My Country! 41 . poverty must be substantially reduced via progressive taxation. political. Donors should withhold funds if donations and domestic revenues are. Given the absence of this will at the moment. given the wide-spread level of official corruption. we can disable corruption. in their judgment. Faith-based organizations. community-based CSOs and the press all have a role to play.

Kigali. A paper presented at the Ministerial Conference on Leadership Capacity Building for Decentralized Governance and Poverty Reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. 2004: Enhancing UPE: A Stakeholders’ Handbook. Susan. Research Performance andPolicymaking in Uganda. Data Base. (New York: St. Letter to Jamaica Contractors Ltd and 25 Others. 2005: The Role of Local Leadership in Improving the Delivery of Services at Community Level: Uganda’s Experience with Primary Education. 2006: Institutions. CAO [Chief Administrative Officer]. 2006 42 . 06 – 08 June. CR. MoES [Ministry of Education and Sports]. Rwanda. John. Kampala. 1998: The Elusive Promise of NGOs in Africa: Lessons from Uganda. May. Kiyaga-Nsubuga. Julius. 207/1. 2003: Value for Money Audit on Universal Primary Education: A Report Prepared for the Ministry of Education and Sports.References Auditor General. MoES [Ministry of Education and Sports]. A Research Report written for Global Development Network under the Bridging Research and Policy Program. dated 18 October 2005. Ref. No. Martins's Press). Dicklich. Kiiza. John Mubazi and Anna Ninsiima. Kampala.