30 October 2012

Uganda: Police Release Names of 945 Ghost Pensioners

Analysts say it requires an overhaul of government officials and the entire system to erase the multitude of graft scandals. This follows the ... ( Resource: The Coruption Cancer in Uganda's Govt

Police have released a list of 945 names and photographs of 'ghost' pensioners on whose bank accounts Shs 63bn was fraudulently deposited and later withdrawn.

Police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, told journalists today that the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) had found that 1,018 accounts had been opened in Cairo International Bank and Shs 63bn deposited on them.

"We think that [the owners of] these accounts, which were authorised by one Peter Sajjabi between February and October 2012, could be innocent persons, and call upon whoever finds his or her picture to report to CID headquarters in Kibuli to assist us in the ongoing investigations," Nabakooba said.

The CID recently burst a racket in which some 1,018 former employees of the East African Community, believed to be ghosts, received Shs 63bn in pension payments between February and October last year. Sajjabi, the East African Community Beneficiaries Association general secretary, admitted to police that he had recommended the 1,018 names, which he said were passed on to him by the ministry of Public Service, to Cairo International Bank for account opening.

Sajjabi, along with two accountants in the Pension Cash Office, David Oloka and Steven Lwanga, as well as Fred Tumusiime, an office attendant, were arrested but later released on police bond. Nabakooba said today that investigators had found particulars of persons and their photographs in the implicated officers' offices, but believe the listed individuals might not be involved.

She said investigators have tried to contact the purported owners of the accounts through telephone numbers listed as belonging to them, but the numbers do not exist. Police now believe the pension officers simply used these people's particulars to accomplish their mission.

Nabakooba said the names and photographs would be displayed at all police stations countrywide.

The CID director, Grace Akullo, told The Observer that the police, in an early morning operation at the ministry of Public Service in Wandegeya on Sunday, October 28, recovered more records of over 3,000 ghost pensioners. Akullo explained that investigators unearthed the files in Oloka and Lwanga's office, and were checking them against the pensions' computer database to verify their authenticity.

The search was conducted in the presence of Oloka, Lwanga and Tumusiime.

"Records at [the ministry of] Public Service show that it is not only [officials in] Cairo International Bank that helped the suspects, but that there are other banks in which the implicated officials were comfortable to make the transactions," Akullo said.

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