Shs60 billion pension paid to 1,000 ‘ghosts’

CID chief Grace Akullo

What you need to know:

Panic. Detectives have been sifting through documents at the Ministry of Public Service, sparking off panic.

A police investigation is closing-in on a racket of senior staff in the ministries of Public Service and Finance who paid out at least Sh63 billion to 1,000 ghost pensioners last year.

The money was paid out between February and November as gratuity but detectives have established that the beneficiaries were all non-existent.

CID chief Grace Akullo confirmed yesterday she was investigating the scam and senior Public Service officials are expected to make statements today. Download List of ghost pensioners.
Detectives have since Wednesday been sifting through documents at the Ministry of Public Service, sparking off panic.

This year, the government allocated Shs63.9b for teachers’ pension, which could have been cleared had the money squandered last year been put to intended use.

It would have also cleared Local Government pensions and civil service gratuity combined whose estimates this year is Shs36.6 billion and Shs34.1 billion, respectively.

A senior official in the Finance ministry said last evening that while the overall pension arrears vacillates between Shs250b to Shs300b, it was “difficult to quantify the actual arrear figures because of the mess in Public Service ministry.”

Officials in the two ministries are said to have created their own list of pension beneficiaries and siphoned the money through a Kampala-based bank.

On January 1, last year, several alleged ghost accounts were opened in the bank on which millions were deposited on January 18. For example individuals using the names Benson Kibuuka and Swalik Kidodo opened accounts and received Shs65.5m and Shs71.9m, respectively.

Another person Cissy Kigobe also opened an account in the same bank and received Sh60.2m.
All the 1,000 alleged beneficiaries paid through this bank withdrew all the money.

They were also all recommended to open accounts in the bank by one person, Peter Ssajjabbi, who passes for the national secretary of East African Community Beneficiaries Association.

Among them was ‘Miriam Kushemererwa’ but when Daily Monitor called the telephone number listed on her account opening form, the person who answered said: “I am not Miriam; I am Resty. It’s a wrong number.”

When the police wrote to the district officials where the purported beneficiaries come from, all districts denied knowledge of the said people.
Meanwhile, the army has also lost Shs263 million in double pension payment, a matter also under investigation.

In 2010, the Auditor General recommended several changes at the department of compensation in the Ministry of Public Service after a value-for-money audit showed that the delayed processing of pensions had resulted in the unnecessary accumulation of pension arrears.

The Auditor General noted: “The general delays led to failure by retired officers to provide for themselves and their families leading to increased dependency burden, distress, frustration and demoralisation.”

Some of the ghosts

Names Amount
Twesigye Johnson 70,600,280
Uwimbabazi Brenda 80,900,150
Wabwire William 66,240,500
Waiswa George 64,240,500
Waliggi Ibrahim George 3,401,863
Wamono Gabriel 64,800.270
Wasajja Benjamin 58.200,150
Wasede Enock 75,500,300
Washiwala Sarah 61,370,400
Wasike Frank 60,290,400
Wekitinisa Dorothy 48,290,290