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MPs Task Lira Hospital Officials on Staff Loan Deductions

The Auditor General Muwanga reported that the employees neither had letters of undertaking nor existed. It is also provided that only deductions consented to by employees in writing , should be submitted to the Ministry of Public Service for timely monthly payroll processing or as advised by the employer.
Dr. J.S.O Obbo, the Lira Regional Referral Hosputal Director with the Human Resource Manager, Derek Karekaho before PAC.

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Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has directed Lira Regional Referral Hospital officials to produce letters of undertakings from staff regarding suspicious loan deductions from their salaries.

The directive follows a query by the Auditor General in the 2020/2021 financial year audit report, regarding un-authorized loan deductions of 190.7 million Shillings from 90 employees.

Auditor General Muwanga reported that the employees neither had letters of undertaking nor existed in the “active deductions” or the “my approval” reports on the Payroll Deduction Management System –PDMS operated by the Payroll Consults Africa- PCA. 

He added that there is a risk of making deductions from staff that have no loans, which deprives them of their hard-earned funds. 

Section 2.1.2 and 2.1.4 of the Service Agreement between Government and Uganda Consumer Lenders Association/Uganda Bankers’ Association requires a letter of undertaking for each government employee before making an employee reservation on the PDMS.

It is also provided that only deductions consented to by employees in writing, should be submitted to the Ministry of Public Service for timely monthly payroll processing or as advised by the employer.

Derek Karekaho, the Lira Hospital Human Resource Manager told MPs that the anomaly was due to a shift in the system used for payments. He however said that all staff verbally confirmed to him that they had loans. 

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Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP objected to Karekaho’s submission saying that no bank or lender can provide a loan without written consent from the employer and the employee.

She also noted that during the Tenth Parliament, a section of MPs from Northern Uganda severally raised complaints about public servants experiencing unauthorized loan deductions.

Opendi said that the issue raised by the Auditor General should be taken seriously and probed.

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Okin Ojara, the Chua West MP also said that there must be a letter of undertaking for any loan deduction to be made.

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Asuman Basalirwa, the PAC Vice Chairperson said that the manner in which Lira Hospital handled loan deductions is very strange. 

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Xavier Kyooma, the Ibanda North MP asked that the hospital accompany the consent undertakings with contacts of the affected employees to enable the committee to carry out further investigations in the matter.

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Basalirwa directed the hospital officials to present written undertakings by the affected employees.

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The hospital is expected to present the evidence next week on Friday.

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