Ministry denies stealing health workers' money through fake loan repayment scheme

Minister of State for Public Service, Mary Mugasa, has come out to deny allegations that her ministry is conspiring to illegally deduct money from public workers' salaries under false claims of loan payment.

Mary Mugasa

Mugasa said that the ministry is no longer in charge of the payroll of government workers. Rather, each local government manages its own payroll and the ministry of Public Service takes care of its own employees.

If the employee is under the Ministry directly, that one, the technical person signs letters of undertaking. But now, we have decentralised everything, meaning the accounting officer at that institution is signing the letter of undertaking. But the Ministry of Public Service is responsible for their own staff,” Mugasa said.

The accusations came from a team of legislators on parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that has allegedly found evidence of unlawful deductions of salaries without cause. Following an audit by the Auditor General, it was discovered that most workers in regional referral hospitals and health facilities were having their money deducted to pay for made-up loans.

The chairperson of PAC, Medard Sseggona, said that these deductions have no documentation to prove their validity.

The Auditor General pointed out that on a number of files that he reviewed, a number of entities are making unauthorized salary deductions without letters of undertaking. What is the policy on loan deductions, how does the payroll deduction system work,” Sseggona said.

Sarah Opendi said that these deductions are meagre but compound into large sums wherever they are going.

And it is a serious matter that has made me suspect that there are some mafias benefitting. The amounts may be small but look at all the institutions. Even if it is Shs2m, look at all the government institutions where some money is taken away, how much is gone at the end of the day?” asked Opendi.

However, Budadiri West MP, Nandala Mafabi, found it strange that there have not been complaints from affected parties. All legal fees and deductions are reflected on pay slips plus each person is aware of their monthly income.

She asked PAC to create a system for the victims to testify against this conduct.

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