How government aided payroll scam

Monday February 23 2015

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (R) after receiving

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga (R) after receiving the 2012 Auditor General report from the AG, Mr John Muwanga, at Parliament. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE 

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Parliament- The loss of about Shs100 billion to 25,000 suspected ghost employees planted on the government payroll by a racket of unidentified officials would have been avoided if Ministry of Finance had implemented the recommendations of the Auditor General, Daily Monitor can reveal.

A follow-up investigation by this newspaper into the loss of taxpayers’ money through the falsification of the public service payroll, found evidence of negligence on the part of government officials in the ministries of Finance and Public Service.

For instance, of the 22 proposed recommendations of AG’s 2012 Special Report on the payroll ghosts, only three were implemented and five partially implemented or still in the process of being implemented more than three years later.

Although government stopped processing new appointments without evidence of acceptance of the employment, they have neither penalised accounting officers keeping ghosts on the payroll nor streamlined the way in which contracts staff access the public service payroll.

The government has also failed to review the payroll to identify employees who are over 60 years of age still on the payroll without valid contract or instruments of appointment. The AG had also recommended that teachers’ transfers should be reflected on the payroll on a timely basis.

Ministry of Public Service has since passed the blame on to Ministry of Finance officials who introduced a decentralised salaries payment system.

Mr Jonas Tumwine, the spokesperson for public service docket, told Daily Monitor last week the public servants ministry of Finance deleted from the payroll and claimed they made a saving, were not ghosts. “They were genuine employees, especially the teachers caught in the game of transition.”

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Ministry of Finance spokesperson Jim Mugunga admitted that some recommendations have not been implemented but said Finance ministry did not do any wrong, adding that it was the Finance minister who asked the Office of the AG to clean the wage bill.

What Shs300b could do
Schools: At a cost of Shs500 million per school, Daily Monitor calculations basing on President Museveni’s figures on un-served sub-counties show that this money could have constructed a fully-fledged primary and secondary school in each of the 274 sub-countries. There are currently 274 sub-counties without a secondary school.
Drugs: The executive director Anti-Corruption Coalition, Ms Cissy Kagaba, said the amount could also reduce maternal mortality rate by saving hundreds of expectant mothers. She said the funds could have treated about 15 million people suffering from Malaria by buying Coartem. Malaria kills at least 320 people daily in Uganda, according to Health Ministry figures.

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

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