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WGI and other international organisations issue a letter with specific voting recommendations to the EU parliament to vote in favor of the new beneficial ownership (BO) requirements on certain types of companies and trusts. The European Commission has introduced a number of changes to the Anti Money-Laundering Directive to enhance the transparency of the EU financial system by introducing new beneficial ownership (BO) requirements on certain types of companies and trusts. Members of the European Parliament ECON and LIBE committees will be voting on the amendments for the Directive .This is meant to increase transparency about who really owns companies like Shell and others, and trusts and put an end to the abusive practices by  these companies revealed in the Panama Papers.

READ THE DETAILED REPORTS

  1. USAID UGANDA PEA SUMMARY-Oil Development in Uganda
  2. voting_recommendations_letter_final

 

cyanide Impregnated Gold Mine Tailing in Mubende District

 

President Museveni has ordered the removal of royalties on gold in order to limit the amount of gold that is smuggled through Uganda unprocessed. He also said he wanted the tax lifted to encourage gold miners to take their gold the newly African Gold Refinery located in Entebbe. He said the tax was encouraging the smuggling of gold out of the country.

 "Therefore I am going to remove that royalty. The people of Mubende should bring our gold to the refinery. You were scared of the tax but now we have removed it. The royalty for those in transit has also been removed. There will be no excuse for anybody not to bring their gold to the refinery," President Museveni said at the launch of the African Gold Refinery on Monday in Entebbe.

President Museveni said that after several demands from industry players who want to see most gold refined and gold bars exported. Uganda at the end of the last financial year exported gold worth Shs700bn, the highest figure in over decade mostly because of the value addition made to the gold. It is now Uganda's second largest export after coffee.

 However, the auditor general queried why the government did not collect royalties worth Shs42bn from the gold that was exported out of the country. Any gold in transit is required to pay royalty fees of about 5 percent of the value. Also, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) is required to collect royalties from all gold mined in Uganda. That money is distributed to the local governments where the gold is mined.

President Museveni said that artisanal miners, like those in Mubende do not file any returns and would rather sell the gold on the black market than pay the royalty.

Mr. Alain Goetz, a Belgian national and CEO of the African Gold Refinery said the move would allow the firm to invest more in Uganda and reduce the smuggling that affects their business.

 "Those who smuggle jobs do not create jobs or even invest directly in this country like we have. Any incentive is an encouragement for them to move from the black market to the formal market," he said on the sidelines of the launch.

The plant has the capacity to refine up to 300kgs of Gold per week and one tone in a month. The $15m facility employs about 75 people and produces gold bars. Alain also requested the government for an income tax incentive. The refinery already benefits from other incentives.

"Because of the importance we are attaching to this facility, the government has provided for manufacturing under the bond facility, which will help the licensed traders and importers to supply gold to the refinery for refining and export free of taxes. This will facilitate the competitiveness of the refinery," he said.

Uganda is currently reviewing the mining policy and law to attract private investment and value addition. There are concerns around the refinery though especially the source of the gold. Of all gold refined in the last one year of operation, 90 per cent of it was not from Uganda yet import statistics don't show any gold entries.

 "Uganda's gold sector is shrouded in mystery - you have to ask who is really benefitting. The gold trade was worth 200 million dollars to the Ugandan economy last year but there are no official figures on where the gold came from or where it is going," said George Boden, Campaign Leader at Global Witness.

"This raises serious questions about whether gold that may have funded conflict and human rights abuses in Eastern DRC and South Sudan could be entering the international supply chain and whether the right taxes are being paid."

SOURCE: All Africa

Small scale gold mining in Karamoja. Such activities are supporting the growth of the mining industry.

 

Kampala. Gold in 2015/16 became Uganda’s second largest export product after coffee but the royalties paid to government don’t seem to reflect that growth. Uganda exported gold valued almost Shs700 billion or about 5,316kgs in 2015/16 according to statistics from Bank of Uganda (BoU).


However, in the Auditor General’s report for 2015/16, there was collection royalty, yet exports were much higher. In fact, the royalties collected were only Shs360m instead of Shs41.88 billion.
“Accordingly, government should have collected between Shs6.98b and Shs34.9b in royalties using the applicable rates of 1 per cent and 5 per cent for the imported or locally mined gold respectively,” the report reads, in part.
Uganda has never exported gold that is valued at that much and at the moment the capacity to produce such quantities is still considered limited. Uganda is supposed to be getting royalties from any gold that is imported and exported, according to Mining Act 2003. The concern raised by the auditor is because of the conflicting figures issued by the Ministry of Energy on one hand, and then Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) on the other.

“During the financial year 2015/16, I noted that the management assessed royalty and awarded export permits for only 93kgs of gold worth Shs11.8b. However, collaborative reports from the Customs and Excise Department of Uganda Revenue Authority indicated that 5,316 kgs of gold had been exported with a total value of Shs698b,” the report reads.
That means some gold was exported and royalties were never paid.
Accordingly, the Mining Act reveals that “Any person who exports any mineral from Uganda without complying with the requirements of subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine of not less than two hundred and fifty currency points or to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, or both.” There has been no action taken against anyone violating this, according to the Auditor General.

Baffling exports
Of particular concern is the source of the gold.
Gold quantities that are produced in Uganda are still unknown. Uganda’s gold production is mostly done by artisanal miners and small-scale miners. According to Dr Adam Mugume, the executive director research at BoU, says they also don’t have records of gold in such large quantities being imported into the country.
“All of a sudden we got God’s blessing and we started exporting gold. I acknowledge that actually, that is one of the main challenges that we have because we don’t see where the gold is coming from. Because we do not see it in imports but we are seeing it in exports,” he said during the Stanbic Uganda Economic Outlook Forum last Tuesday.
In 2016, Uganda’s exports grew by 1 per cent on account of the increase in gold exports.

Exporting trends
Gold exports per financial year (exchange rate $1 = Shs3,580)
2012/13. $4.4m (Shs17.6b)
2013/14. $0.25m (Shs895m)
2014/15. $0.23m (Shs823.4m)
2015/16. $203.4m (Shs731b)
Calendar year
2012. $7.82m (Shs28b)
2013. $3.25m (Shs11.7b)
2014. $0.24m (Shs859m)
2015. $35.7m (Shs130b)
2016. $339m (Shs1.2trillion).

SOURCE: Daily monitor

On Saturday, 18/02/2017 Water Governance Institute conducted a sensitization and awareness raising meeting for community members from over 30 parishes of Nakawa Division, Kampala district on Aquaponics farming. The meeting was held at Nakawa Tusimbude Poultry Farmer’s Cooperative Society Offices. Most of the association members expressed interest in Aquaponics farming.

The Association agreed to partner with WGI to help disseminate information to these farmers. A demo will be set up at the association’s offices.

WGI will be waiting to see how many of these farmers will actualize their interest by investing in Aquaponics farming.

 

 

UNCAC COALITION LETTER TO UN MEETING ON MANAGEMENT AND DISPOSAL OF STOLEN ASSETS

WGI joins other international civil society organisations under UNCAC(UN Convention against Corruption) Coalition’s Civil Society Working Group on Accountable Asset Return to make Recommendations to the International Expert Meeting on the management and disposal of recovered and returned  stolen assets, Addis Ababa, 14-16th February 2017.

Read the Letter 

CSOs presented their position paper to the Agriculture Committee on Monday January 23rd 2017. The CSO paper detailed proposals regarding the strengthening of the Operation Wealth Creation Programme (OWC), ensuring availability of water for production, strengthening policy to improve standards of inputs and agricultural products if the fortunes of Agriculture are to be turned around in the FY 2017/18.

Parliament yesterday passed the Budget Committee report on the 2017/18 Budget Framework Paper which was prosposed by Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) members under the Agriculture Sector Thematic working Group and resolved that the Government must table an amended version of the Budget Framework Paper capturing the recommendations that were made in the report

WGI is a member of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG)

 

Download the details here 2017-18 Budget Framework Paper report- MPs agree with CSOs on Agric, water & Health allocations

At 3 a.m. one March morning, Mayeso Gwanda, an informal trader, left his home in Blantyre, Malawi, and traveled to the nearby Limbe market. He carried with him the plastic bags he sells in order to earn a living.

As he made his way along the road, three police officers intercepted him. One of the officers struck him with the flat side of a knife and demanded money. When he told them he had none, they arrested him for a 192-year-old offense, introduced in Britain during the reign of Queen Victoria and to its colonies in the early 1930s. Mayeso was charged with being “a rogue and a vagabond.”

Meanwhile, in Nairobi, Kenya, a man named James, a well-respected schoolteacher with a psychosocial disability, had missed his medication due to a local drug shortage. Police arrested him as he walked along the road singing, perhaps more loudly than some might have wished. Officers charged him with being an “idle and disorderly person.”

James was held in detention for three months and released without charge—for singing. He has been arrested more than a dozen times for similar transgressions, including being shirtless in public and sleeping on the street. On many of these occasions, the police took him into custody only to release him after a few days.

Mayeso and James’s stories reflect a daily reality for thousands of people in Africa. Across the continent, and indeed in other parts of the world, outdated petty offense laws criminalize actions that pose no threat to public safety. These offenses have their roots in the age of empire lawmaking, through which foreign powers sought to control and segregate local populations.

Imposed decades ago by British, French, and Portuguese colonists, and retained by current African governments long after being repealed in their countries of origin, they continue to make the lives of Africa’s most marginalized more hazardous. Many of these laws against loitering, being “a rogue and a vagabond,” having no “ostensible means of assistance,” or being “idle and disorderly” carry prison terms, and are still in place in Mauritius, Nigeria, Gambia, Zambia, Uganda, Botswana, Seychelles, Ghana, Tanzania, and Sierra Leone.

Vague, disproportionate, and arbitrary in nature, these offenses are used to target street children, the poor, the homeless, LGBTI people, sex workers, hawkers, people with substance use problems, and people with disabilities. They enable law enforcement to target people purely based on their social or economic status.

For James, the laws meant days, sometimes months behind bars, putting enormous psychological and financial strain on him and on his family. The arrests worsen his condition, and he has often had to be hospitalized for long periods afterwards in order to stabilize him.

Mayeso was more fortunate. With the support of our grantees, the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, he challenged the validity of the rogue and vagabond law in Malawi.

Last month, the High Court agreed with his claim that the offense was unconstitutional and invalid, violating his rights to dignity, freedom of movement, and security of person. This is a major victory for activists—not just in Malawi, but potentially for those in other common law jurisdictions where these archaic provisions remain in place. We hope that the progressive precedent set by Malawi, which references a range of African Charter rights, will help efforts to challenge these laws elsewhere on the continent.

Now, working with a wide network of partners, we are supporting a continent-wide campaign targeting these laws.

Civil society groups, together with the Special Rapporteur for Policing and Prisons at the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, are developing a set of legal principles on the Declassification and Decriminalization of Petty Offenses in Africa. They are also preparing to approach the African Court to challenge the consonance of these laws with the African Charter. Legal challenges and advocacy to decriminalize petty offenses are also underway at the national level in Kenya, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, among others. The aim is to ensure that they are gone for good well before their 200th birthday.  

  Source

Henry Bazira (Executive Director WGI) argues that this explains the systematic weakening of other public institutions to an extent that they cannot independently make critical decisions without the involvement of the President’s Office. Below is his Full Opinion

 

In June 2014, the President Yoweri Museveni during Hero’s day celebrations declared a plan to scrap National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) coordinators and deploy army officers instead citing rampant corruption among the coordinators.

This was later confirmed by the UPDF spokesperson Lt Col. Paddy Ankunda who said UPDF was ready to take over NAADS public service. Since then, the UPDF took over NAADS operations.

In 2015, the President again citing corruption suspended operations of Beach Management Units (BMUs), which are legally enshrined in the local government Act.

Last week, the New Vision Newspaper published an article titled “UPDF takes over fisheries.” This apparent takeover of public services by the UPDF is not restricted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and is not a new development.

It is a protracted process that the regime of President Museveni has worked on for a very long time, albeit silently. Statements like “I am not your servant” by the President are not helping the situation.

Military Takeovers of Public Service

It is not uncommon to find military officers or at least ones that served or serve in the army deployed in many government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

I have colleagues that served or could still be serving in the army that are deployed in regular public service jobs in several MDAs. While this seems well-intentioned to fight corruption and promote discipline, transparency, openness and patriotism as is purported, it is a systematic militarization of public service and a capture of public resources.

This explains the systematic weakening of other public institutions to an extent that they cannot independently make critical decisions without the involvement of the President’s Office.

It is also a violation of the Constitution and the UPDF Act. It risks making a “national army” political and partisan, thus undermining peoples’ confidence in the army.

A Political Economy Analysis (PEA) study I was involved in 2015 in Hoima revealed that instead of the BMUs, there was an outfit called the “Fisheries Monitoring and Enforcement Unit FMEU” comprising of UPDF soldiers, established by the Minister of MAAIF ostensibly because of corruption in the BMUs.

While the FMEU was fully operational then, we did not find any legal backing that justified its existence. FMEU was reported of confiscating fish in the guise that it is illegal and then turnaround and sell the same fish on the local market, becoming part of the problem they were intended to solve.

According to the locals, “it is a syndicate well-orchestrated by highly placed politicians, senior government officials and the untouchables” aimed at amassing wealth, defrauding local fishermen and simultaneously strengthening patronage networks.

Now MAAIF officials are grappling with amending the archaic 1960s fisheries Act to find a way of integrating the army into fisheries activities.

These politically motivated processes have often emerged guised in “the need to improve natural resources management”. However, amidst all military take-overs, the question Ugandans need to ask is whether these take-overs have led to improved service delivery and economic growth or worsened the situation, resulting in widening inequalities and increased poverty?

Deployment of soldiers to manage fisheries on shared lakes, namely Edward, Albert and Victoria could be construed as a posturing for war with neighboring countries and could trigger trans-boundary conflicts when the army clashes with fishermen from across the borders. This is made worse by the highly porous and weak immigration controls at borders in Lakes.

Thus far, there is no emergency or security threat to justify a military takeover of public institutions; Government should respect the separation of roles and duties in the constitution.

The author is the Executive Director of Water Governance Institute (WGI) - More pub

WGI is a member of the Uganda Tax Justice Alliance where it serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Alliance. The alliance works to promote socially- just, accountable and progressive taxation systems in Uganda.

This is the reason why WGI is part the CSO’s that issued the Accelerated Agenda for Addressing Illicit Financial Flows in Africa .For more information 

 

Click here to view this press release online.

 

 

 

More than two-thirds of £25.4 million spent on a foreign aid scheme to install wells, water pumps and irrigation in some of Africa's poorest areas has been soaked up by fat cat consultants.

Internal documents passed to The Mail on Sunday reveal consultants pocketed at least £16.8 million as taxpayers funded thousands of days of work by private contracting firms. 

Department for International Development (DFID) sources confirm average daily rates for staff on the project were more than £600 – equivalent to a £150,000 salary.

Yet a Government review says the scheme improved resilience to extreme weather for just 370 households in poverty-stricken southern Africa, rather than the 15,000 intended.

The leaked papers reveal only a fraction of the money went on building a handful of small infrastructure and irrigation schemes in rural regions.

Meanwhile the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility (CRIDF) hired 550 staff, spent up to £217 per person on workshops and £20,446 on 'gender and social inclusion guidelines'. 

The documents admit 'consulting fees are the major cost driver' and 'may be high' – while a DFID analysis found 'purported' economy measures were 'spurious'.

A scheme to help three Zimbabwean villages grow beans and cabbages cost more than £10,000 per household.

Yet despite the scheme frittering away huge sums, DFID increased spending on it by almost £5 million – and invited bids for a multi-million-pound, three-year second phase.

'This is an absolute scandal,' said Tory MP Nigel Evans, who sits on the Commons International Development Committee. 'I feel so angry that money meant to help some of the poorest in the world is lining the pockets of rich people.'

He called for International Development Secretary Priti Patel to urgently review this latest example of profligacy and profiteering in the poverty industry. 'It's an appalling waste of money and clearly should be stopped.'

The CRIDF contract was won by the country's largest specialist aid consultancy, Adam Smith International (ASI), which has seen profits soar as Britain boosted spending on aid abroad to £12 billion.

The firm is already at the centre of two major Westminster inquiries after The Mail on Sunday exposed how it had obtained secret Government papers to gain commercial advantage – then sought to dupe MPs investigating profiteering by fat cat firms.

Four years ago Dfid agreed to spend £20.7 million on CRIDF for small dams, pumping stations and irrigation schemes in order to develop resilience against climate change while showing the value of co-operation between nations. 

But a quarterly review in November 2014 revealed 70 per cent of the first £7.8 million spent went on consultants. Many were at higher rates, which can reach up to £950 a day.

The document accepted 'fees may be high' and were 'the major cost driver' with 550 people hired.

Other spending included workshops in nations such as Mozambique and Namibia with daily costs of £124 to £217 per person; drawing up 'gender and social inclusion guidelines'; and £7,350 on a communications adviser.

An annual report prepared six months later admitted overspending. It said the shortfall would probably be met by 'reallocating some funds' from capital funds, which had been due to be spent on irrigation projects in poverty-struck rural regions.

The document urged DFID to commit more cash, despite more than two-thirds of the forecast budget going on consultancy fees. Incredibly, DFID signed a deal with ASI two months later, giving an extra £4.7 million.

Although praising itself for 'innovative new thinking' in many activities, CRIDF admitted spending £1.2 million on transport alone – while at that stage it had helped just 50 of the 15,000 households targeted over the project.

It had not irrigated a single hectare of land – nor helped any of the 50,000 households targeted for better water security or the 275,000 intended to benefit from 'improved resilience to extreme weather'.

CRIDF had expected to mobilise an extra £10 million by that point from other public bodies. But despite 7,676 days worked by its swollen army of consultants, it raised only £122,000 – and nothing from private firms.

The organisation was committed to only seven capital projects at that stage, costing a total of £2,248,000.

These included Kufandada, a £473,000 project for a weir, pump repairs and small reservoir in south-eastern Zimbabwe, intended to help 120 households. Among other schemes were pump restoration plans in Tanzania and improved sanitation, including communal toilets, for 1,126 households in Zambia.

'This is unforgivable,' said one aid expert who studied the documents.

'They are building a few small things and spending millions on themselves. Clearly the fee rates were too high and management mechanisms totally inappropriate.'

The first two DFID reviews of CRIDF were carried out by Raja Dasgupta, who last year joined ASI, then illegally obtained confidential Government documents to gain commercial advantage. He no longer works for the firm after this newspaper's disclosure of dirty tricks, which prompted Miss Patel to start an inquiry into aid contractors.

ASI insisted he had been barred from working on CRIDF. "They are now under the spotlight for everything "

The most recent public Government review, seven months ago, found costs of the water projects – now ten schemes – had soared to £8.63 million with £3.77 million spent on preparatory work. Kufandada was listed as costing £1,223,708 – an astonishing £10,197 on each of the 120 rural households benefiting. The report admitted CRIDF was behind on projects and failing to hit targets, with just 370 households having improved resilience – 'well below' the 15,000 intended.

But this was blamed on 'a timing issue' and the project was given an 'A' rating. ASI's DFID contracts made millions for its directors as profits soared. More than 80 per cent of its £111.7 million annual turnover is from Government contracts.

One senior DFID source said: 'They are now under the spotlight for everything they are doing with us.'

ASI said CRIDF had mobilised an additional £126.6 million funding and was implementing 16 projects for £4.8 million capital spending, with the scheme on track to hit targets.

A spokesman said Kufandada was preparatory work for a £72.5 million programme to benefit 1.5 million people – and the average cost of CRIDF workshops was £28 per participant. They added: 'CRIDF has already leveraged £5 for every £1 spent by DFID, demonstrating value for money.'

Partners in the project include WYG, a Leeds-based consultancy involved in 15 DFID projects in the past four years. The firm handed chief executive Paul Hamer a £471,000 pay package last year after revenues rose to £133.5 million – although it paid just £321,000 in tax due to historical losses.

The firm said DFID contracts were a tiny fraction of its revenues.

DFID said millions across southern Africa were suffering because of drought and 'many more would suffer in the years to come' were it not for this project. Read more: 

This story would be compelling if only it were a unique case. But it isn’t. It is synonymous with all things that have gone wrong with foreign aid funded government projects in Uganda. Millions of dollars meant for development projects continue to be siphoned benefiting a few individuals in the country. The essence of all of them is ensuring Ugandans remain poor, at times worse off rather than the promise of bettering their worlds /eradicating poverty.

Projects such as the  big hydro-power dams  favored by government of Uganda continue to receive funding  and huge allocations from the national budget every year even when they have clearly failed to deliver on expected benefits. Construction of dams has had a history of inflated costs, lack of transparency in deal making, profiteering ,shady contracts and unnecessary delays. Built on the promises of remaking people from peasants to modern citizens ,these have  failed to  deliver reliable and affordable power even to the local communities near the projects. They have rather become mere set-pieces of nation building.

Indeed,Kiira dam currently produces 50MW instead of the planned 200MW. Information about the actual production of the 250MW Bujagali dam is still unclear and has never been independently verified yet it’s unit cost is still the most expensive in the whole world of power projects. Isimbwa 185 MW and Karuma 600MW dams are now in the offing but their benefit to the country is uncertain, considering this trend.Already, concerns are mounting about the costs of these projects. While Karuma was initially expected to cost around $1.4 billion, this is now likely to shoot up to $2 billion.The reality is that many Ugandans are without access to power and those with access, it is pricey considering that more than half the population lives below the poverty line.

Dragging projects, inflated costs,shady contracts,profiteering,disgruntled project affected people  this continues to be the story of  some of Uganda’s government and foreign funded projects.Uganda missed GAVI funds for over six years since 2006 when the organization suspended cash support to the country following the misappropriation of the $4.3m (about sh7,6b). Some public officials were found guilty of stealing the funds even as the then health ministers Jim Muhwezi, Mike Mukula and Dr. Alex Kamugisha were acquitted. The suspension of funding affected the country so much that immunization coverage dropped from 83% in 2008 to 76% in 2009/10, according to health ministry statistics. As the downward trend continued, the national immunization coverage reached 52% in 2011, turning Uganda into one of the countries with the lowest number of fully immunized children in the world. 

 

 

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