Parliament Roasts Uganda Police Over UGX 921 Million Expenditure On Ghost Police Staff, Inhumane Detention Conditions

Parliament Roasts Uganda Police Over UGX 921 Million Expenditure On Ghost Police Staff, Inhumane Detention Conditions

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By Spy Uganda

Kampala: House’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has scrutinized the Uganda Police Force over payments totaling Shillings 921,250,559 to 1,655 retired, deserted, or deceased employees who were not promptly removed from the payroll as of June 30, 2023. Auditors cautioned that this oversight inflates the Police’s payroll and manpower figures.

During the investigation, MPs also addressed the issue of 2,042 ghost workers found on the Force’s payroll. These individuals did not appear for a verification exercise conducted by the Auditor General in February 2023. Among them, 1,347 were confirmed deceased, absconded, or retired, while 695 received salaries amounting to Shillings355 million without being accounted for by the Police.

The Auditor General’s December 2023 report revealed further discrepancies, identifying 17,636 staff on the Police’s payroll with inconsistencies in their names, National Identification Numbers (NINs), birthdates, and gender. Additionally, 230 individuals were verified with the correct documents but were not initially on the payroll, highlighting significant payroll management issues.

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MPs also condemned the deplorable conditions in police detention facilities. The Auditor General’s report highlighted that many stations forced women, men, and children to use buckets as toilets and share the same cells. Out of 72 sampled stations, only 11 had separate cells for women, men, and children, despite Uganda having 2,131 police stations.

Aggrey Wunyi, Under Secretary of the Uganda Police Force, acknowledged these challenges, stating that new police stations are being constructed to address these issues. He emphasized that new facilities include separate cells for males, females, and juveniles.

”We had challenges in the old structures and mostly where Police is renting. But where Police has constructed our own office accommodation, we have separate cells for male, female and juveniles. When we are building new police stations now, we have detention facilities for the male, female and juveniles,” said Wunyi.

However, Sarah Opendi, the Tororo District Woman Representative described the current conditions
as unacceptable arguing that sharing of cells among men, women and children could exacerbate the  domestic violence .

“I find this unacceptable considering that Police has a construction unit It is really a shame that in this era when the population of Uganda has greatly increased. Some people may leave the cells pregnant and you are actually causing domestic violence,” Opendi said.

The audit report also faulted the Police for multiple human rights violations. It was noted that Shs4 billion allocated for detention facilities in 2022/23 did not prevent extended detentions. In 42 inspected facilities, 352 suspects were detained for over 48 hours, with some held for over two weeks in stations like Kasangati and Nakasongola.

Muwanga Kivumbi, the PAC Chairperson and also Butambala County MP also criticized the practice, arguing that prolonged detentions hamper economic productivity. He advocated for issuing bonds instead of holding suspects for extended periods without trial.

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Further scrutiny was directed at the Police budget, which amounted to Shs980.4 billion, with only Shs963.3 billion warranted. Officials denied assertions of budget growth, attributing discrepancies to post-election obligations such as recruitment and equipment maintenance.

MPs highlighted that the audit report revealed the use of bucket systems in 19 out of 60 sampled stations, particularly in districts like Kamuli, Mbale, Gulu, and others, underscoring the need for improved detention conditions.

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