By Francis Emorut
Civil servants working in the ministry of Public Service have been warned against pension scam that it should not happen again.
The warning was sounded by the state minister of Public Service, Ssezi Mbaguta, who said the ministry, was well known worldwide over the pension scam that rocked the ministry two years ago.
The pension scam in which sh60 billion was paid to ghost pensioners led to the interdiction and prosecution of the permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa and the chief accountant Christopher Obed and others.
“This vice must not be allowed to thrive again. You must identify new options to close the lope holes,” angry Mbaguta who has served the ministry over eight years told public officers.
She blamed the civil servants for not reporting the anomalies to the political leaders and permanent secretary.
“The vice happened because public officers don’t brief the political leaders and the permanent secretary,” she stated.
The minister was speaking during the pension scheme meeting aimed at reviewing the pension reforms at Ridar Hotel in Mukono district.
Mbaguta was also upset by delays of paying pensioners which has created liability to the government to the tune of sh190bn in arrears.
The principal human resource officer in charge of compensation in the ministry of Public Service Bua Victor Leku (centre) listens to Commissioner, Eva Lubowa (left) and the acting permanent secretary in the ministry of Public Service, Adah Kabarokole Muwanga during the pension scheme meeting at Ridar Hotel in Mukono. PHOTO/ Francis Emorut
“We have created pension arrears which are not necessary because of the slow pace in handling documentation,” she said.
She said the new pension reforms should be customized to suit government needs.
“We must reform the pension scheme. It’s long overdue. The current pension scheme is not sustainable that’s why we have a lot of arrears,” she said.
On payment of former government leaders namely, former Vice Presidents, Gilbert Bukenya, Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and former Premier Prof. Apollo Nsibambi their housing emoluments will be paid in the second quarter of the financial year.
Bua Victor Leku, the principal human resource officer in charge of compensation in the ministry of Public Service noted that if the pension arrears are not paid now it will triple to US$ 2.7b.
He said this figure is equivalent to 16% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said there are over 52,000 pensioners and 7,000 survivors who are paid a lump-sum and annuities monthly.
Leku pointed out the challenges affecting the pension scheme as bureaucracy, lack of career records and poor information asymmetry.
Other constraints are inadequate budget and yet the number of beneficiaries continues to rise, inadequate capacity and financial illiteracy of pensioners.
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