Anti-corruption civil society organisations (CSOs) have asked government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other semi-autonomous government institutions to delete civil servants from the government pay rolls once they are found guilty of corruption by courts of Law.
The activists urge that some MDAs are still paying civil servants who were convicted by competent anti-corruption courts and this has resulted into government losing huge amount of money to convicted officers.
“As anti-corruption activists, we are calling on all relevant government Institutions such as the Ministry of Public Service, Public Service Commission and other agencies to delete convicted civil servants from the government payrolls; this will save taxpayers’ money. Why do we still have civil servants convicted of corruption related cases appearing on the payroll and drawing a salary?” Maron Agaba, Head of Programming at Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), asked.
According to ACCU, there about 28 officials from various government institutions that were convicted by the anti-corruption courts for cases such as embezzlement, abuse of office, among others but still access government payment yet the law requires them to be out of public services for 10 years without holding any public office.
Agaba observed that maintaining such officers on the payroll shows Uganda as not willing to fight corruption despite the strong anti-corruption legal regimes in place.
He made the remarks in Kampala recently during a dialogue that was attended by various representatives of anti-corruption CSOs and officials from government such as Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Health, among other stakeholders, in the fight against corruption.
The dialogue aimed at soliciting for action from Ministry of Public Service, Public Service Commission and other stakeholders for removing convicted civil servants from payrolls. The other objective of the meeting was to share information and gain a detailed understanding of the process/steps followed to remove convicted public servants from a payroll.
Responding to the queries from the activists, the Assistant Commissioner Human Resources in the Ministry of Public Service, Allan Muhereza said the problem is not only for the Ministry of Public Services but various government agencies that recruits civil servants.
He said the payroll is managed from a centralized place that is all MDAs create records and then input into this same place thus the rate of implementation differs. The officer also noted that the flow of Information between the various government institutions is also poor, and this hinders the implementation of key court judgment recommendations of taking action against the convicted officers.
“The courts of law should share the information on the judgment sheets with the responsible government agencies; this will make it easier for the agencies to implement the recommendation from the court Judgment. That is the only way to effectively remove these officers from the Government payroll,” he said.
He added that the Ministry of Public Service does not delete records from the payroll but only stops salary from being paid. Muhereza told the participants that there is a process of getting on and off the payroll.
ACCU Chief Executive Officer Cissy Kagaba said government agencies should uphold the principles of transparency by implementing recommendations from the IGG and Office of Auditor General reports.
She noted that implementations of the recommendations by various MDAs is still poor yet it is implementation that can help in the fight against corruption.
“Our (ACCU) 2018 report on the status of implementation of Value for Money audit recommendations revealed that that most of the audit recommendations have not been implemented especially by MDAs including; National Environmental Management Authority & National Forestry Authority,” she said.
According to Global Financial Integrity (2017) report, Uganda annually loses approximately US$1 billion to corruption. A local report by the Black Monday Movement, a coalition of anti-corruption civil society organizations, estimates that between the years 2000 and 2015, the government of Uganda lost more than Shs. 24 trillion to corruption; enough to finance the country’s 2015/2016 budget (Action Aid Uganda, 2015).
East African Business Week