20 years later, pensioner dies without pay
Posted Friday, January 25 2013 at 02:00
For 20 years, Faustino Alego made endless trips to Kampala from Soroti in the hope of securing his pension, having served the East African Community for quarter a decade.
On Monday, however, Alego, 75, a resident of Kamuda Sub-county in Soroti District, who had been ill for a while passed on, with his life’s wish—to get what was due to him—never achieved.
At his burial in Agama Village, his children narrated how their father, who had worked as a chief carpenter at the East African Civil Aviation Academy in Soroti, had tried to ensure he received his pension in vain.
Mr Washington Otai Ekipu, one of his sons, said Alego’s misery was compounded last November when he saw his picture in the media, indicating that he was among those who had received their pension through Cairo International Bank in Kampala.
The Daily Monitor three months ago, published pictures of ghost pensioners provided by the police.
The expose was part of the wider probe into alleged corruption at the pensions office in the Public Service ministry, where senior officers were accused of stealing over Shs60 billion meant for former employees of the East African Community.
Investigators found that whereas the photos were genuine, the accompanying names were fake.
Several senior officers, including the ministry’s principal accountant, Mr Christopher Obey, have been interdicted and face charges of fraud.
Investigations into the theft continue, with a new revelation this week that Mr Obey, in connivance with officials of the Administrator General’s office, could have embezzled another Shs1.5b in payments to fictitious claimants. Detectives say 72 ghost names were submitted to the office of the Administrator General for clearance as administrators of estates of dead pensioners.
Mr Ekipu told mourners that when his father saw his picture in the newspaper, he broke down and cried at the Teso Anti-Corruption Coalition offices in Soroti.
“The officials there supported him and took him to register a statement at the police. But the damage was done. His health began deteriorating and he never recovered,” he said.
Another mourner said: “That is not the way senior citizens should be treated. He should have received his money. I guess the shock was too much to handle.”
Mr Ekipu says his father’s photograph appeared twice under the names Jamal Matovu and Michael Akichan.
Alego is survived by a wife, 13 children and five grandsons.