Mistaken Deposit Puts Kamuli Pensioner in Financial Stress – The Ankole Times

Mistaken Deposit Puts Kamuli Pensioner in Financial Stress

Thursday, October 5, 2023
PHOTO - Kamuli Town
Evelyn Atim
3 Min Read

James Isabirye, a 62-year-old retiree from Kamuli district in Uganda, has found himself in a difficult situation. He needs to repay a sum of Shillings 16 million that was mistakenly transferred into his bank account during the 2021/2022 financial year. This issue was brought to light during a confrontation between officials from Kamuli District local government and members of the local government public accounts committee.

A financial audit revealed that three pensioners, including Isabirye, had been overpaid a total of Shillings 17.4 million. Isabirye’s account received an unintended credit of Shillings 16 million.

Prossy Kasiko, the principal human resource officer of Kamuli District, admitted to approving this overpayment, which was subsequently authorized by the chief administrative officer, Tappy Namulondo. Kasiko explained that Isabirye was owed Shillings 1.2 million in pension arrears. However, due to a clerical error, he received Shillings 16 million.

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Efforts were made to contact Isabirye to return the excess funds, but he had already invested the money in his personal business ventures, with no other source of income. Isabirye argued that he believed the money was a token of appreciation from the government for his 38 years of diligent service without fringe benefits. He also mentioned that the district had delayed paying his pension fees for two years, and the lump sum payment was a relief.

Namulondo pointed out that Isabirye’s monthly pension was Shillings 114,000, and only half of it could be deducted from his account each month. This left no immediate way to recover the money. Noah Mutebi, acting chairperson of the public accounts committee and Nakasongola MP, questioned why the accounting officers did not block the transaction for seven days, given their awareness of the mistake, before Isabirye withdrew the funds.

Mutebi instructed investigators to look into the possibility of collusion between Isabirye and the accounting officers to defraud the government, taking into consideration Isabirye’s age and inability to repay the funds.

Furthermore, Mutebi stated that the committee members would collaborate with various government agencies to explore ways of recovering the lost funds from the involved accounting officers, with the aim of preventing future fraud incidents.

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As a proud contributor to both The Ankole Times and NS Media, Evelyn has her finger on the pulse of what's hot and happening. When she's not busy crafting headlines that can make a hyena laugh, Atim enjoys taking long walks through the vibrant streets of Uganda, seeking inspiration in the most unexpected places—like the chaotic traffic or the street food vendors whose stories are as spicy as their dishes.
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