In his audit report, Auditor General John Muwanga queried the overpayment of pension/gratuity by the hospital, to a tune of 222.9 million Shillings following a review of the payroll data and Integrated Finance Management System (IFMS) payments.
Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - Central Government have
called for the arrest and investigation of Lira Regional Referral Hospital officials
over irregular payment of pension.
This was during the committee meeting on Wednesday with the hospital officials
led by the Director, Dr. J.S.O Obbo regarding audit queries raised in the
financial year 2020/2021.
In his audit report, Auditor General John Muwanga queried the overpayment of
pension/gratuity by the hospital, to a tune of 222.9 million Shillings
following a review of the payroll data and Integrated Finance Management System
“The overpayment of pension and gratuity leads to overstatement of pension
expenditure and understatement of receivables,” says Muwanga.
Xavier Kyooma, the Ibanda South MP said that the overpayment to the tune of 222
million shillings is grave and that the Hospital Director needs to explain
the circumstances under which the money was paid.
In response, Dr. J.S.O Obbo, the Hospital Director said that the figures indicated
were gratuity payments to rightful officers who had retired from service and
that these were paid using first call release for the first quarter since the
facility did not have enough funds during the previous financial year.
“They were paid using first call/release of Quarter 1 because the Hospital was
unable to clear all payments in the previous financial year following
enhancement of salaries for medical workers. This affected the budget and
amount approved for gratuity payment,” said Obbo in part.
He also noted that the payments were verified by Ernest &Young and cleared
for payment by the Ministry of Finance.
Karekaho Nuwamanya, the Lira Hospital Human Resource Officer further explained
that the money was paid to claimants who were supposed to receive payments in
the previous financial year 2019/2020. He said that these claimants were
carried forward to the financial year 2020/2021.
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However, Kyooma said that the evidence provided to the committee to justify the
payment was a letter dated 13th July 2021 by the Secretary to Treasury to all
accounting officers regarding payments for the financial year 2021/2022. He
said that the directive of the first call did not apply to arrears in the previous
Kyooma said that the provision of an irrelevant letter to explain a query
pointed to fraud. He also noted that the hospital sought authorization from the
Ministry of Finance in regard to the payment of arrears but before they got a response,
the hospital went ahead to pay.
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Asuman Basalirwa, the Vice-Chairperson PAC also questioned the Hospital
Director about a recommendation by the Auditor General for him to institute an
investigation into the matter, take action and file a report. However, the
committee learned that Dr. Obbo did not institute any investigation in regard to
this payment something that angered MPs.
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MP Kyooma asked that the hospital officials are handed over to the CID officers
attached to the committee for further investigations.
//Cue in: “the officers need…
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Mary Begumisa, the Ssembabule Woman MP also noted that the officials seemed not
ready with the required answers needed to answer queries.
Basalirwa ruled that he was going to give the hospital management a last
opportunity to go back and file fresh responses to the audit queries. He
directed that their next interaction with the committee should be smooth with clear
answers to the queries.
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PAC gave the
hospital management one week to prepare and appear again before the committee.