KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Financial and legal experts have called for
tougher laws in order to curb illicit cash flow that is costing
Uganda hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars.
The experts were on
Monday meeting here to identify solutions to illegal cash flow
whose figure now stands at 528 million dollars annually,
according to a report by Oxfam.
Raymond Baker, Chief
Executive Officer of Global Financial Integrity, a research and
advocacy organization in the United States said there is a
shadow finance system that is used to steal from the poor.
“Systems have been
created to move, hide and shield millions of dollars by
corporations, governments, drug dealers - a shadow system that
is undermining the rule of law,” Baker said.
“I have never known
a multinational corporation that has not used this shadow
financial system to evade and avoid taxes in countries where
they operate,” he said.
The experts meeting
under the theme, “Illicit Financial Flows: Exploring conceptual
and practical challenges in Uganda” identified the forms of
illegal cash flows as use of fake foundations, anonymous trust
accounts and disguised corporations.
The experts said the
perpetrators ride on loop holes in financial regulations to
siphon millions of dollars from developing countries.
They argued that for
instance in Uganda, the central bank, Bank of Uganda does not
regulate the amount of cash flow out of the country. It is only
limited to regulating internal transactions.
Nalunga, an official of Southern and Eastern Africa Trade
Information and Negotiations Institute, said multinational
companies should report to the respective countries in which
they are working. She said this would help to monitor the
external cash flows closely.
Uganda was removed
from the money laundering list of shame last year by the
Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body that
regulates efforts to fight money laundering and terrorism
financing within member states.
The east African
country had been placed on the list in 2015 because of weak laws
that cannot stop illicit cash flows. The other countries on the
list include Yemen, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Syria, Sri Lanka,
Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.
Uganda currently has
in place the Financial Intelligence Authority which is charged
with combating money laundering.
The country’s tax
body, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) also collaborates with
other state institutions to check goods that are destined for
“URA works with
Uganda Wildlife Authority to intercept the illegal transfer of
ivory. As work goes on, the schemes get more sophisticated. URA
looks at collaborations as critical and cannot end illicit
financial flow alone,” Stella Nyapendi, an official from URA
The organizers of
the experts’ meeting, FIDA, a group of female lawyers said
government needs proper legal advice before entering into
contract with multinational corporations. They argued that
poorly negotiated contracts can result into tax avoidance and
finance secrecy that leads to illicit financial flow.
forms new anti-corruption unit
KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday said he has
formed a new anti-corruption unit and encouraged the public to
report corrupt officials.
delivering his State of the Nation address, said the move is
aimed at fighting rampant corruption and poor delivery of
He said the unit
will be based in his office.
“The only enemy we
need to fight is corruption and poor implementation of
government programs. Report any corruption you come across to
this unit,” Museveni said in a nationwide televised address.
“People expect money
for every little task. We could not have liberated this country
if we did not have a high degree of altruism. This attitude of
altruism must come back.”
The president has
put fighting corruption, infrastructure development, job
creation and electricity as key priorities of his ruling party
the National Resistance Movement.
activists argue that Uganda has good legal and policy frameworks
to fight corruption but the challenge lies in the
Uganda starts eviction of over
600 families from wetland in central region
KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) --
Uganda’s ministry of water and environment on
Wednesday started evicting over 600 families occupying a major
wetland in the central part of the east African country.
Collins Oloya, a
commissioner in the ministry said the four-day eviction exercise
comes after a four month grace period given to the families
living in the Lubigi wetland in Wakiso district.
“So all those
officials who want to turn these operations political they
should read the Constitution and seek for guidance and right now
the operation will continue until all the wetland encroachers
are evicted with all their things,” said Oloya.
the Wakiso district wetlands officer said those evicted from the
wetlands will have to pay for what the ministry has spent to
carry out the exercise.
warn that there is need to protect the wetlands, noting that
their destruction is costing the economy enormous amounts of
According to the
Uganda Wetlands Atlas, wetland destruction costs the country
nearly 2 billion shillings (over 540,000 U.S. dollars) annually,
and contamination of water resources, which is partly caused by
reduced buffering capacity of wetlands near open water bodies,
costs the country 38 billion shillings annually.