Uganda: Government Probes 7,800 Pensioners

The Ministry of Public Service has forwarded at least 7,874 pensioners to the Inspector General of Government for investigation after they did not turn up for validation exercise between June and July last year.

Ms Catherine Bitarakwate, the ministry's Permanent Secretary, said the pensioners did not show up despite being given a deadline date for validation and searching for them.

"When they did not show up, we sent all the records for investigation. We do not know whether they are ghosts or real but they did not come. You can find that someone is there but they are so elderly or do not have relatives who could have brought them," Ms Bitarakwate told Daily Monitor at the weekend.

"They do not have their biometrics, we have files but we do not have the current faces of those people and their finger prints. We do not know whether they are dead or alive, so all that is with IGG," she added.

Mr Wilson Muruli Mukasa, the Minister of Public Service, said the pensioners had also been deleted from the payroll.

"Those dubious cases have been forwarded to the IGG. So 7,874 pensioners worth Shs2.65b per month were deleted from the payroll in 2019 because they were doubtable cases," he said.

When contacted yesterday, Ms Munira Ali, the IGG spokesperson, said she could not immediately verify the said pensioners.

However, she admitted that they have been conducting an investigation about some pensioners since 2018.

In 2017, it was reported that out of the 73,000 targeted public service pensioners in the country, only 48,000 showed up for the census.

Government to roll out new pension scheme

The Ministry of Public service has said government is in the process of introducing a contributory public service pension scheme. Mr Mukasa said the scheme aims at addressing governance, accountability and equity problems associated with the current unfunded scheme, among others. He also said the overall wage bill of government has over the years increased from Shs4.2 trillion to Shs5 trillion in the financial 2020/2021.

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