Some government employees found guilty of corruption or related charges have continued to regularly draw salaries from the national treasury long after they have been convicted by the Anti-Corruption Court, a research reveals.
The joint research by Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU) and Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption and Accountability Regime (SUGAR) indicates that more than 30 government officials, who were convicted of corruption, continued to receive full salary throughout their incarceration, something that contravenes the law.
According to the Ugandan law, corruption means abuse of public office for private gain and includes but is not limited to embezzlement, bribery, nepotism, influence peddling, theft of public funds or assets, fraud, forgery, causing financial or property loss and false accounting in public affairs.
Once convicted of corruption charges, section 46 of the Anti-Corruption Act demands that a convict be disqualified from holding a public office for 10 years.
But according to the research, some convicts were receiving salaries while in jail and continued to do so even after serving their sentences.
Presenting part of the research in Kampala on Tuesday, ACCU research and advocacy officer Richard Okuku cited 31 names of convicts, some sentenced as way back as 2010, whose names remained on the public service payroll until they officially retired with full benefits.
Many of those convicted include security personnel, magistrates, accountants, doctors, teachers, engineers and officials at the local government levels (list withheld)
“We believe that there could be some collusion going on in the various ministries, departments and agencies of government, and we also believe this is a deep rooted problem - much bigger than we have managed to uncover,” Mr Okuku said.
He added: “How else can you explain somebody who is absent from work and yet keeps receiving salary every single month without anybody raising the red flag? Going forward, we believe naming and shaming is appropriate. And we will never tire of exposing this kind of corruption.”
Responding to the research findings, the assistant commissioner for human resource management at the Ministry of Public Service, Mr Andrew Mujungu, noted that the weakness lies in supervision by the department heads.
“After two weeks out of office or work station, it should be evident that something is amiss and those responsible should be able find out what is going on,” he said.
Among those cited in the report as drawing salary is Mr Samson Bagonza, who was convicted for abuse of office and causing financial loss and sentenced to three years in jail. He also named Mr Samuel Mandu, who was convicted for causing financial loss. For Mr Bagonza’s case, the matter was overturned on appeal and so he was reinstated on the payroll. For Mr Mandu he was reinstated on payroll after conviction, something Mr Mujungu said he will investigate further.
The manager of prosecution at the Inspectorate of Government, Ms Brenda Kimbugwe Mawanda, said it is common practice for convicted public servants to find their way back onto the payroll before finishing their jail terms.
She said the law provides that once a person is convicted on corruption charges, the name should immediately be deleted from the payroll and only reinstated when the conviction is overturned on appeal.
What law says
Once convicted of corruption charges, Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption Act demands that a convict be disqualified from holding a public office for 10 years