JLOS Holds 2nd Annual Anti-Corruption Forum

Participants at the 2nd Annual JLOS Anti-Corruption Forum (JAAF) held on 28th October 2020 at Mestil Hotel in Kampala (PHOTO: JLOS) Participants at the 2nd Annual JLOS Anti-Corruption Forum (JAAF) held on 28th October 2020 at Mestil Hotel in Kampala (PHOTO: JLOS)

 

KAMPALA - The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in partnership with the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) held the 2nd JLOS Annual Anti-Corruption Forum on 28th October 2020, as part of the Government annual anti-corruption campaign. The Forum was held under the theme “Technological Readiness for Effective Accountability in Pursuit of a National Middle-Income Status: A Critical Reflection on JLOS Anti-Corruption Legal Enforcement’. The focus was the operability and effectiveness of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Anti-Corruption Court Division of the High Court, in light of the use of technology.

The Forum was convened and presided over by Hon. Justice Jane Frances Abodo, the Director of Public Prosecutions who emphasised the importance of embracing technological capabilities to meet the contemporary crime challenges and manifestations, especially for white-collar crime. The Forum demonstrated how technological advancements have increased the sophistication of crime, now invisible to traditional crime management systems. Economic crime in particular, has a direct negative correlation with development and if left unchecked, can pave way for State capture. It can undermine and further delay Uganda’s development efforts and aspiration for a middle-income economic status.

Development Partners, including the United Nations Development Programme and the Austria Development Agency in Uganda emphasised the corrosive effect of corruption on Uganda’s economic growth and welfare of citizens. The poor and marginalised persons are prone to suffer a disproportionately higher burden of corruption when for instance seeking justice services or medical care. The Partners echoed their commitment to support Uganda’s development agenda, more so in the modernisation of the justice, law and order institutions, and building technological capabilities to effectively combat corruption. 

The Forum resolved to enhance institutional strengthening and integration, reforming and completing pipeline anti-corruption legislation, and embrace the required technologies. Embracing integrated modern hardware and software technologies, applying big data and machine learning to facilitate processes among the criminal justice chain-linked institutions, should be integrated with credible system security against hackers and internal breaches. The technological reforms should be matched with specialised human resource skilling and development of expert anti-corruption investigators, prosecutors and adjudicators. Matters of legality and admissibility of evidence sourced from local and international jurisdictions using mutual legal assistance procedures are equally very important. Therefore, investment in research and innovation in different spheres of technological development and application is key to ensure a holistic transformation. This is the reality of the fourth industrial revolution.

From a governance point of view, while modern technology minimises opportunistic corruption and enhances institutional efficiency, the transformation should be matched with sufficient sensitisation of duty bearers and the public to ensure informed and effective utilisation of the proposed developments. Stakeholder inclusion is central to ensure no one is left behind under this transformation in terms of access and operability for both duty bearers and the public. As a matter of caution, data protection, systems security, management and regard for human rights must be observed. Data privacy, confidentiality and protection are critical considerations that must be part of a technological revolution. The transformation must comply with modernisation and legality to maintain legitimacy and the rule of law of Uganda’s anti-corruption enforcement.

In attendance was Hon. Lady Justice Jane Okuo – Judge of the Anti-Corruption Court; AIGP Grace Akullo - the Director of Criminal Investigations in the Uganda Police Force; Mrs. Alice K. Khaukha – the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions; and Dr. Syliva Namubiru - the Chief Executive Officer of the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET) that explored current trends and gaps that need urgent redress. Dr. Anga R. Timilsina (Ph.D.), the Global Programme Advisor on Anti-corruption at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided a global perspective to embracing technology in anti-corruption law enforcement. The Forum was coordinated by the JLOS Secretariat, represented by the Senior Technical Advisor, Ms. Rachel Odoi-Musoke and attended by over 150 stakeholders from various government departments, civil society, the academia, development partners, and the general public.

 

 By Mudoi Musa

  

Published: October 29, 2020

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