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MPs Grill Bigirimana Over Workman Compensation Disparities

Bigirimana said there is a committee composed of the accountant, himself and the Commissioner for Labour that takes charge of handling claims and approving benefits.

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The Public Accounts Committee-PAC has tasked Pius Bigirimana, the Gender Ministry Permanent Secretary (PS) to explain irregularities in the issuance of workman compensation.

Bigirimana was appearing before the committee to respond to queries in the Auditor General's report for the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 financial years. 

In the 2015/2016 financial year audit report, the Auditor General, John Muwanga noted that Bigirimana was compensated Shillings 43 million for sustaining injuries in 2013 in the line of duty yet police officers with claims dating back to 1996 have been put on hold. 

The MPs noted with concern the unclear criteria for compensating government employees who suffer occupational injuries and other forms of hazards while at work.

The Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga tasked Bigirimana to explain the criteria used to pay workers who have been injured and who determines the dangers. 

In his response, Bigirimana, said compensation is paid on first come first serve basis except where the situation is worse and dangerous.

 

Asked to explain further, Bigirimana said priority is given to people who sent in their claims earlier, which are assessed by him and other committee members for payment.

 

Mpuuga insisted that there are complaints of unfair treatment and favoritism from unpaid workman claims, saying the matter shouldn't be disposed until Bigirimana presents approval details.

Bigirimana said there is a committee composed of the accountant, himself and the Commissioner for Labour that takes charge of handling claims and approving benefits.

Masindi Woman MP, Jalia Bintu asked whether the ministry has got internal mechanisms where cases or complaints are handled.

 

"We have received cases of that nature and I have handled them myself, we have a formula of how we arrive at the compensation," said Bigirimana. He further said beyond himself, the medical board handles complaints and compensations.

The committee tasked Bigirimana to explain his 2013 compensation yet several police officers have not been paid since 1996 despite claiming smaller amounts. He explained that he was involved in a helicopter crush and sustained injuries and had to write. 

"I was operated and that assessment was not done by me, it was by the Ministry of Gender before I went there," Bigirimana said. At the time, he was the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Ntungamo Municipality MP, Gerald Karuhanga put it to him that he used his office in OPM to call his colleagues in Gender Minister to process his claim, a claim Bigirimana rejected.

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