Government through Ministry of Public Service has denied allegations of illegally deducting salaries of civil servants.
Minister of State for Public Service, Mary Mugasa (pictured) says that the Ministry is just a conduit because the payroll was decentralized and managed by the respective local governments.
“If the employee is under the Ministry directly, that one, the technical person signs letters of undertaking. But now, we have decentralsied everything, meaning the accounting officer at that institution is signing the letter of undertaking. But the Ministry of Public Service is responsible for their own staff,” Mugasa said.
This is after MPs on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee grilled officials from Public Service on allegations that some of its officials are conniving with accounting officers to unlawfully deduct salaries of public servants, as payment for fictitious loans, that staff are clueless about and never obtained.
During the audit process on regional referral hospitals and other health facilities, Auditor General highlighted unlawful salary deduction in almost all regional referral hospitals, with MPs expressing worries that this could be a multi-billion scheme costing public servants their hard earned monies.
Medard Sseggona, Chairperson PAC remarked, “The Auditor General pointed out that on a number of files that he reviewed, a number of entities are making unauthorized salary deductions without letters of undertaking. What is the policy on loan deductions, how does the payroll deduction system work.”
Sarah Opendi (DWR Tororo said that whereas there are letters within the institutions where staff authorized loan deductions, however unknown to the employees, there are other loan deductions with no letters of undertaking and the top managements of various hospitals admitted that they aren’t the ones conducting the salary deductions and asked Parliament to task the Ministry of Public Service to explain the disparities.
“And it is a serious matter that has made me to suspect that there are some mafias benefitting. The amounts may be small, but look at all the institutions. Even if it is Shs2m, look at all the government institutions where some money is taken away, how much is gone at the end of the day?” asked Opendi.
Budadiri West’s Nandala Mafabi wondered why the affected public servants haven’t complained formally given the fact that their pay slips clearly spell out their pay and deductions made by government on each payment and asked the Committee to initiate modalities on how these victims can testify on these dubious deductions.
The Ministry of Public Service also denied claims of deliberately delaying to release pensions and gratuity, saying this is occasioned by the rampant ghost staff that have hijacked payrolls at districts where names of deceased workers are kept on the payroll by accounting officers.