Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have tasked officials from Mbale Regional Referral Hospital to avail clear records showing management of salary disbursement.
The Hospital officials led by the Director Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo were appearing before PAC-Central Government on Tuesday, 1 October 2019 to respond to audit queries raised by the Auditor General in his financial year 2017/2018 report.
Auditor General, John Muwanga, observed that a review of the Hospital’s financial statements for the year under review indicated that Shs 8.2 million was paid as salary to four retired staff and this was attributed to failure to update the payroll with respective dates of retirement by the officers.
“This indicates weak controls in the human resources department and a financial loss to the hospital. The anomaly was noted and a code from Ministry of Public Service would be requested to make deductions from their pension,” reads part of the report.
PAC Vice Chairperson Okin P.P. Ojara noted the irregularity in payment of salaries to retired staff casts the spotlight on the hospital for paying salary to someone who no longer works at the institution. Ojara expressed worry that the figure could even be higher than what the Auditor General found out.
Lilian Waiswa, the Hospital Principal Human Resource Officer told MPs that the irregular salary disbursement was an oversight by the human resource officer who preceded her who ought to have properly reviewed the payroll.
“It took the human resource department some time to study the payroll vis-a-vis the staffing list to detect people supposed to go off and those to stay and the omission was discovered later,” said Waiswa.
Waiswa told MPs that the hospital Director had issued a directive to the human resources department to recover the money paid out to the retired staff.
“We have fully recovered the money paid to the four retired staff members, but the fifth person will reimburse the money through their pension over a 24-month period,” Waiswa said.
The Hospital Director, Dr. Emmanuel Tugaineyo, attributed the oversight in salary payment to the manual system rather than digital approach to it. He said the latter would be more accurate, efficient and effective.
But Ojara insisted that someone must have left that loophole deliberately warning that the Hospital must protect itself from repetitive payments.
The Committee plans to execute a field visit to the hospital to ascertain and clear the air on other matters raised in the Auditor General’s report including understaffing, lack of land titles and the state of medical equipment.