The Justice Law and Order Sector (JLOS) is one of the sectors provided for under the government Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) adopted in 1998 by the government of Uganda. The sector has been in existence for the last thirteen years and is made up of Seventeen (17) MDAs. Upon realization that the fight against corruption is ineffective without a clear strategy, the sector is in the process of formulating an anti corruption strategy.
The Justice Law and Order Sector Anti-Corruption Strategy is a framework designed to enable planning in order to make a significant impact on reducing corruption in the Sector institutions as well as building and strengthening the quality of accountability in the country as a whole. It will focus on Ministries, Departments and Agencies, which comprise the JLOS, members of staff and systems in order to contribute to the National Anti Corruption Strategy vision of Zero Tolerance for corruption to create an efficient and effective service delivery.
Corruption has been generally understood to mean “abuse of entrusted authority for illicit gain”. This broad definition includes any conduct or behavior in relation to persons entrusted with responsibilities in public office which violates their duties as public officials and which is aimed at obtaining undue gratification of any kind for themselves or for others”
In an area in which objective data is not readily available, perceptions and other assessments are some indicators of real levels of corruption. This makes corruption very hard to measure. . According to the World Bank and the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index as well as other local surveys like National Integrity Survey (NIS) and the Public Procurement Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), it is estimated that Uganda losses over 250 million US dollars of public resources per annum to corruption.
According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) 2010, JLOS institutions like the Uganda Police Force and the Judiciary are ranked among the top three corrupt institutions in Uganda. Uganda is placed among countries in which people reportedly most often (in comparison to other countries) have to pay bribes when entering into contact with institutions like the Police, Judiciary or customs. This reflects public mistrust, which heightens the crime rates and complicates the work of JLOS institutions in administration of justice in Uganda.
The National Anti Corruption Strategy identifies some key aspects of society that enable corruption to exist and flourish as follows;
- Public beliefs and attitudes;
- Ineffective accountability systems;
- Lack of political leadership and accountability;
- Moral decay in public service
- Limited capacity of anti-corruption agencies and the judicial system
- Delays in the legislative framework:
Other driving factors include but are not limited to;
- Poor staff motivation and/or remuneration;
- Poor organisational/institutional structures that do not clearly outline roles and responsibilities to specific officials;
- Poor internal controls and segregation of duties;
- Poor record keeping, archiving and tracking systems;
- Inadequate transparency, for example in prioritizing and sequencing the hearing of court cases or payment of court awards;
- Public ignorance about various procedures and rights;
- Lengthy court resolution timelines that lead to frustration of stakeholders who may resort to easier/faster options to achieve end results; and
- Political interference among others.
The JLOS Anti-corruption Strategy is therefore aimed at strengthening the sector’s capacity to deal with corruption, at strengthening integrity, transparency and service delivery within institutions, thus building public trust. This anti-corruption strategy has been developed for JLOS in order to give effect to the expressed commitment of the sector to fight corruption in the JLOS agencies. The Strategy places the emphasis on a broad sectoral effort while identifying specific institutional responsibilities as they apply.
The purpose of the JLOS Anti-corruption Strategy is to prevent and combat corruption through a multiplicity of supportive actions. This strategy is meant to provide JLOS with a holistic and an integrated approach to fighting corruption across institutions involved in the administration of justice. To enhance operational efficiency, the strategy will take a broad service wide approach to the promotion of accountability by exploited synergies that already exist like the 3Cs; coordination, co-operation and communication to ensure harmonization and standardization.
The Anti-Corruption strategy will together with the already existing mechanisms and strategies prevent and deter corruption in the JLOS Institutions, put in place standards of behavior and systems for detection, investigations and punishment of corruption. It will also enlist support from members of the public, civil society and other governmental organizations that are involved in the fight against corruption. The strategy is thus a mixture of preventive and combative mechanisms against corruption and maladministration in the JLOS.
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