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UBC MD Winston Agaba Admits Paying ‘Ghost’ Staff

Winston Agaba (Left) before COSASE on Monday

Winston Agaba, Managing Director of Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) has admitted to being oblivious about paying four ghost workers, admitting that he came to know of this after the payroll audit conducted by Ministry of Public Service.

He made the admission while appearing before Parliament’s Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities & State Enterprises (COSASE) where MPs raised concern about payment of non-existent staff, irregular and underpayment of staff, as well as the different payrolls UBC is operating, which they say breeds discrimination amongst staff.

“At the time of harmonizing the head count by Public Service, it was also at the time that we were notified that some people were on the payroll of other agencies. And that has been rectified, we terminated those that were on our side and even the IGG has interested herself in the matter. So the IGG came and is handling that matter,” said Agaba.

His remarks were in response to a question posed by Eddie Kwizera (Bukimbiri County) who tasked the officials to furnish the Committee with the list and amount of funds lost through the payment of ghost workers as alluded to in the December 2023 report.
Documents before the Committee revealed the ghost workers to be; Yosam Rugundana, Ssempa Kanakulya, Patrick Baligonzaki and Christine Birungi Birabwa. However, it was revealed that the Inspectorate of Government was only investigating Birungi, while plans are underway to recover the funds from the other three individuals.

“When you read, the Auditor General is talking about payment of non-existent employees, under payment and irregular payment, which can be a big motivation for staff and they end up being very corrupt. So can we get comments on why you have staffs that you are paying and are non-existent? Can you give us a list of those people who were getting salary from your side and getting from outside and you tell us, why the Human Resource isn’t on interdiction,” said Kwizera.

Medard Sseggona (Busiro East) tasked the officials from UBC to explain why they operate three payrolls, warning that such a move creates discrimination amongst staff who are doing the same roles but are being paid different, and this can attract legal liabilities for UBC.
“My biggest concern especially with UBC is that you seem to maintain three payrolls, you have one where you may call a permanent establishment, you have those you pay with Government money, you have those you pay from your own sources. But you are one entity, doesn’t this bring about discrimination amongst your employees? The way you pay them, their terms and conditions of their service?” said Sseggona

Agaba attributed the difference in payment between Television, radio and administration staff on the failure by Government to honour its financial obligation of revamping UBC which entailed enhancement of salaries for all staffs, prompting the Corporation to only focus on Television and administrative staff, leaving out the radio and casual laborers.

“The revamping started mainly with the Television staff, like I said earlier, the face and image of UBC is mainly TV. And that is why the wisdom of the Minister at that time was that the first people to be taken at the payroll were the TV staff and administration staff. The second phase in the second year, we were supposed to have additional funding because that was a presidential directive, the funding was supposed to run for five years, we only got one year and the second year, we got zero. So that is how the anomaly came in. however, the Board has already addressed itself to this issue and part of the recommendations of the Board to the Minister is to harmonize this position and in the letters where we are requesting that 100% of wage should be paid by Government,” said Agaba.

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