PARLIAMENT- At least 2,995 police officers who could not be accounted for have had their names deleted from the Force payroll in an on-going clean-up exercise directed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura.
Gen Kayihura, who appeared before the House Defence and Internal Affairs Committee yesterday to defend a 2014/15 budget request of Shs607.7 billion, said the officers who are suspected to be deserters were identified from a recent head-count exercise.
“We wanted to weed out the ghosts on the police payroll that’s why I ordered for a head count and some officers were found to be absent and without authority, they are unaccounted for,” Gen Kayihura said.
The deletion of the names of some officers from the police payroll came to light after Obongi MP, Hassan Kaps Fungaroo and other committee members complained that thousands of police officers had spent up to six months without pay yet ministry of Finance released 100 per cent of the wage.
“The IGP ordered Professional Stands Unit to carry out a head count exercise and from the results we received, a section of officers are not accounted for, they were absent without permission and we have deleted them from the payroll,” said Mr Moses Balimwoyo, the director human resource.
Mr Balimwoyo said when the police authorities wrote to various stations across the country in an attempt to verify the 2,995 police officers, only 400 officers turned up, saying they missed the headcount exercise because “they were sick and decided to stay home” without the knowledge of their commanders.
Explaining the delays in paying salaries for some police officers, Gen Kayihura’s team blamed the decentralisation of payroll. They said the payroll ‘distortions’ resulted into overpayment, underpayment and in some situations, some officers missed their pay for months.
Media reports have, in the past, indicated that there are at least 43,000 men and women serving in the police. An attempt to establish the officially recognised figure met with little success yesterday as police spokesman Fred Enanga said they “don’t disclose the number of the police officers”.
Gen Kayihura called for increased funding to the police and disputed a conclusion by some MPs that police spends Shs2.5billion to quell a single riot. He said the Shs36.8 billion reflected as money for quelling riots includes Shs35.3 billion for salaries.