Amendment to Bolster Recovery of Public Funds Lost to Corruption

Amendment to Bolster Recovery of Public Funds Lost to Corruption

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June 21, 2016

spotlight Compliance Champion Spotlight

What is a Compliance Champion? A Compliance Champion is an individual or organization committed to fostering and raising the standards of anti-bribery compliance. TRACE Trends will include posts featuring Compliance Champions from time to time.

We hope you enjoy the following entry from this week’s Compliance Champion, and TRACE Partner Law Firm!

Today’s guest blog post is written by Dr. C. Kallu Kalumiya of Kampala Associated Advocates, one of the leading full service law firms in Uganda and TRACE’s Partner Law Firm in Uganda.  Dr. Kalumiya’s areas of focus include international law and international human rights law.    

Corruption in Uganda has long been prevalent and highly exposed by the media.  Although the Anti-Corruption Act 6 of 2009 established criminal liability for corruption in both the public and private sector, inadequacies in Uganda’s anti-corruption efforts and the resulting corruption, including theft of public funds by the country’s ruling elite, continue to cripple its fight against corruption.

On October 15, 2015, the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Act of 2015 (the “Amendment”) was signed into law in Uganda, revising the Anti-Corruption Act 6 of 2009 (the “Act”) to enhance its effectiveness. The Amendment criminalizes deals involving suspect property acquired as a result of corruption, providing more stringent penalties, including up to fourteen years of imprisonment for theft of public funds. In addition, the Amendment mandates the confiscation of assets a court finds were lost and attributable to corruption. 

The Amendment outlines the following procedures for asset recovery:

  • The court shall assess the value of the benefit derived from corruption by a convicted party within six months of conviction. In assessing such benefit, there is a rebuttable presumption that any assets or interests acquired during the ten years preceding the conviction represent proceeds of corruption and any expenditure incurred before the conviction resulted from the corrupt offense.
  • Once the court is satisfied that the convicted party derived benefit from corrupt offense, the court is mandated to make an assessment order directing the convicted party to pay the assessed amount of benefit within six months. The assessment order has no mitigating effect during sentencing. 
  • The court shall make a confiscation order, if the assessment order is not satisfied within the given period, and appoint a receiver, manager, or administrator where a convicted party’s property is deemed realizable or requires special attention.

The Amendment is yet to be tested. However, it will soon go up against yet another highly publicized corruption probe, that is, the alleged mismanagement of public funds at the Uganda National Roads Authority.   The outcome of this probe and the potential recovery of public funds will demonstrate whether the Amendment has successfully pushed Uganda a step forward. 


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