By Spy Uganda
The Public Accounts Committee (Local Government) has tasked Ntungamo District leaders over irregularities in payment of salaries, gratuity and pension.
It was noted that there were over payments of Shs61 million and under payments of Shs268 million in the 2021/2022 financial year.
The committee was scrutinizing the Auditor General’s report of 2021/2023 for Ntungamo District on Thursday, 23 March 2023.
Members of Parliament learnt that the district paid some of its staff excessively, with one staff paid in excess of Shs20 million.
The irregularities according to the Auditor General’s report were a result of use of wrong salary scales causing financial loss to government.
“There were 38 staff who were paid salaries on wrong levels, bands, notches and this led to over payment of salaries of Shs57 million and under payment of Shs77 million,” read the report.
The committee also learnt that the district’s human resource department had erroneously paid out over Shs4 million as excess salary to staff due to failure to prepare monthly reconciliations.
The report also indicated that staff eligible for gratuity and pension were paid less than they statutorily deserved.
“There was an underpayment of Shs191 million in respect of salaries and gratuity,” the report stated in part.
Members of Parliament castigated the district officials for denying staff their right to pay and keeping pensioners without pay for long.
“How do you keep pensioners for almost a year without pay? Have you made an effort to recover the money lost? You have two pensioners who demand Shs6.4 million and four people who have to be paid a gratuity totaling Shs184.7 million,” said Hon. Emmanuel Ongiertho (FDC, Jonam County).
MPs tasked the district officials to work out a strategy to recover the excess payments.
“It is now one year, what have you done about this? We need evidence if you have recovered the excess money paid out and paid those who received less pay,” Hon. Patrick Isingoma (Indep., Hoima East Division).
Kiboga West Member of Parliament, Hon. Abdul Mutumba said the district lacks credible justification and asked them to provide documentary evidence of any efforts made to recover the money.
“I want us to get the list of beneficiaries, to call them and confirm whether they received this money. Otherwise, there seems to be lack of commitment from the accounting officer,” he said.
The Chief Administrative Officer, Mathias Ndifuna said that the process to recover all excess payments was under.
“We agreed that recoveries are initiated with staff who were over paid and be able to pay back those that were under paid. Starting April, we shall will start paying back,” said Ndifuna.
The committee also learnt that the district had for the past five years experienced infights and as a result, a number of staff were interdicted for mishandling projects.
“It happened that there were cracks in the premises and the President asked the Minister of Education to discipline the district engineer and other officers found to be culpable. We did interdict them as investigations were being done,” said the former Chief Administrative Officer, Nasser Mukibi.