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Cablegate: Uganda: Mcc Anti-Corruption Threshold Program

VZCZCXRO3249
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0999/01 2400902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280902Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1738
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC// ICITAP//
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 000999

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DOJ FOR ICITAP (TREVILLIAN, RODERICK, BARR, AND RAUCH)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KCOR EAID UG
SUBJECT: UGANDA: MCC ANTI-CORRUPTION THRESHOLD PROGRAM
ENDING WITH MIXED RESULTS

REF: A. KAMPALA 00846
B. KAMPALA 00568
C. KAMPALA 00955

KAMPALA 00000999 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The Millennium Challenge Corporation's
(MCC) Director for Threshold Programs, Malik Chaka, visited
Kampala August 20 - 21 to review Uganda's Anti-Corruption
Threshold (ACT) program. Although the ACT registered
important achievements at the institutional level, lack of
investment and political will on the part of Government of
Uganda (GOU) in dealing with what appears to be a worsening
corruption problem means the Threshold Program will not be
renewed after its December 2009 expiration date. Each of the
anti-corruption officials we met was energized,
well-prepared, and serious about corruption busting. The
evident disconnect between their conviction that Uganda has
finally "turned the corner" on corruption, and our view of
ACT as a mixed success hampered by a lack of political
support, encapsulates the dilemma facing Uganda's corruption
fighters and the international donors who fund them. With
ACT nearing its end and a full MCC Compact further out of
reach, we are exploring alternative ways to consolidate gains
achieved in the anti-corruption sector while taking into
account continued doubts about Uganda's overall dedication to
eradicating corruption. End Summary.

-------------
The Good News
-------------

2. (SBU) MCC Director for Threshold Programs Malik Chaka and
post representatives met with ACT stakeholders in Kampala,
August 20-21, to review the successes and challenges of the
two-year USD 10.4 million anti-corruption program. ACT,
which will end in December 2009, was designed to reduce
corruption in public procurement, increase the number of
successful corruption prosecutions, expand civil society's
involvement in Uganda's anti-corruption efforts, and enhance
Uganda's eligibility for a full MCC Compact. ACT support for
the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and newly
established Anti-Corruption Court directly contributed to the
convictions of three mid-level Global Fund scandal
perpetrators and the return of missing Global Fund money by
others eager to avoid a similar fate (ref. A). ACT also
boosted the capacity of Uganda's anti-corruption institutions
by training more than 450 officials from the DPP, the Office
of the Inspector General, the Office of the Auditor General,
the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets
Authority (PPDA), the Police's Criminal Investigations
Division (CID), and the Anti-Corruption Division of the High
Court. Placing police, prosecutors, judges and procurement
officials into the same training courses created a tangible
sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and enthusiasm amongst
Uganda's corruption fighting institutions. ACT also provided
some technology transfer, enhanced civil society's
involvement in the anti-corruption sector, particularly at
the local level, and greatly improved the PPDA's ability to
track public expenditures.

--------------------
The Not So Good News
--------------------


3. (SBU) Many of the shortcomings that prevented ACT from
realizing its full potential were often completely unrelated
to the anti-corruption institutions participating in the
threshold program. On the legislative front, while
Parliament recently passed an anti-corruption bill, it has
yet to approve other legislation crucial to Uganda's
anti-corruption efforts. This includes bills on money
laundering, asset forfeiture, whistle-blowers and witness
protection. The GOU also failed to provide promised
counterpart funding for ACT. Of the USD 2.2 million pledged
by Uganda, only half has been disbursed, leaving a balance of
USD 1.1 million. In separate meetings, the Permanent
Secretaries of the Treasury and Foreign Affairs both pledged
to look into the matter to ensure that partner funds are
disbursed as promised.

4. (SBU) MCC anti-corruption efforts also suffered from a
lack of commitment and investment from the highest levels of
the GOU (ref. B). During our meeting with MFA Permanent
Secretary Ambassador James Mugume, for instance, we noted
that a decision by President Museveni to fast-track the
remaining anti-corruption legislation would speed the bills

KAMPALA 00000999 002.2 OF 002


through Parliament and also address residual doubts about the
Ugandan government's political will to clamp down on corrupt
officials.

5. (SBU) Although ACT was intended to help position Uganda
for an eventual MCC Compact by shoring up its score on the
MCC's anti-corruption indictor, Uganda is now further away
from qualifying due to backsliding in several of the MCC's
"Investing in People" indicators. During his meetings, the
MCC's Chaka noted that with its corruption indicator barely
above the median and several other indicators, such as health
expenditures, immunization rates, girls' education, political
rights, civil liberties, and natural resource management
either already below the median or trending in that
direction, Uganda qualifying for an MCC compact in the near
term is extremely unlikely. With more than fifty percent of
its population under the age of 15 and population growth
rates on pace to double within the next twenty years (ref.
C), reversing this downward trend will require rapid action
and spending that may prove beyond the reach of Ugandan
authorities.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Corruption Fighters: But We're Just Getting Started
--------------------------------------------- ------

6. (SBU) The evident disconnect between our assessment of
ACT as a mixed success and the view of Uganda's top level
corruption fighters encapsulated Uganda's leadership
challenge. While we prepared to deliver a eulogy for the ACT
program and begin the post-mortem evaluation process,
Minister of Ethics and Integrity Dr. Nsaba Buturo reported
that Uganda had, at long last, turned the anti-corruption
corner. Minister Buturo attributed this alleged shift to a
personal discussion he held with President Museveni, the
appointment of a new acting Inspector General of Government,
and the impending passage of key anti-corruption legislation
in Parliament. "The problem is as we strive to move
forward," Minister Buturo explained, "there are elements that
don't want us to move forward. The good news is, there is
now resolve to not let these elements slow us down. We have
not shown sufficient political will, but it is all changing
now." Minister Buturo then compared pulling out of the
anti-corruption sector now to abandoning troops on the
battlefield just as victory was in sight.

7. (SBU) The Auditor General, the Inspector General, the
Director of Public Prosecutions, and senior leaders of the
PPDA, Police CID, and the Anti-Corruption Court all sounded
similar notes as they delivered well-prepared, precise
accountings of how ACT has strengthened their institutions
and assessed what still needed to be accomplished. Perhaps
the most remarkable aspect of the roundtable with these
institutions was the evident level of camaraderie and
teamwork linking Uganda's most important corruption fighting
agencies.

-------------------
Comment: Next Steps
-------------------

8. (SBU) The MCC program significantly improved the capacity
of Uganda's anti-corruption institutions. Although Uganda's
overall commitment to fighting corruption remains in doubt,
the end of the MCC ACT program should not signal the end of
targeted U.S. support for Uganda's most dedicated corruption
fighters. The evident enthusiasm and teamwork linking the
offices of the Auditor General, Inspector General, Department
of Public Prosecutions, CID, PPDA, and the Anti-Corruption
Court can serve as the basis for continued assistance,
however limited, through other programs. We will continue to
explore ways of supporting core anti-corruption institutions
to further build their capacities and consolidate the gains
achieved by the ACT.
HOOVER

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