2 Masindi Local Gov’t officials ordered to refund Monies paid to ghost staff

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Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi chairing the Parliamentary Accounts Committee on Wednesday; Courtesy Photo

By Mary Asujo
Members of parliament sitting on Public Accounts Committee (local Government) have directed administrators of Masindi District Local government to pay back monies amounting to UGX.17.5Million part of which they overpaid to staff some of whom are non-existent.

The District Principal Human Resource Officer, Lynus Opigo and the former Chief Administrative Officer, Geoffrey Nkuruziza were ordered to pay the lost monies from their individual accounts after they conceded of paying staff 11.44m over and above the set emoluments, but in error.

PAC Local Government chaired by the Gulu West (Bardege-Layibi Division MP, Martin Mapenduzi, was on Wednesday meeting officials from Masindi District over queries raised by the Auditor General in the financial year ending June 2021 showing gross mismanagement of public funds.

The Auditor General’s report indicates that UGX.11.44million was paid in excess to some district staff and UGX.6.06million paid to ghost staff.

The two were handed over to police to record a statement over causing financial loss to government after conceding that there was negligence on their side which caused the over payment.

Members of Parliament were however concerned that payroll system-related challenges are hindering the performance of Local government officials in executing their duties after realizing inconsistencies between Minister of Public Service and entity payroll registers and the releases.

Wakiso District woman MP, Ethel Naluyima, told journalists after the meeting that in the committees observance, it was discovered that they are spending a lot of time scrutinizing these issues but the problem is with the Integrated Personnel Payment System.

It was found out that that there were variances of Shs 10.31m between the figures in the ministry’s IPPS and entity (District) payroll registers.

The MPs said that they are tired of seeing local governments suffering as a result of the payment system because the ministry is always changing systems and yet they are not trained since most of them have basic computer knowledge.

Masindi District’s Chief Administrative Officer, Ms Phionah Sanyu said that management has taken note of the Auditor’s recommendation on inconsistence.

However, the payroll register is sometimes adjusted to cater for isolated cases like abscondment, and death of employees among others. Ideally, heads of departments are required to verify staff eligible for payment of salary on a monthly basis.

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