UBC under fire as management is tasked to explain triple payroll system

The committee was meeting officials from Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to respond to queries raised in the December 2023 Auditor General's report.

The Committee of Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) has asked Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to explain why they operate three payrolls, warning that such a move creates discrimination amongst staff.

The chairperson of COSASE, who also doubles as the Busiro East county Member of Parliament Medard Sseggona, warned this may cause legal liabilities for the corporation in the future since most of the workers are doing the same roles but are being paid differently.

Ssegona said, “My biggest concern especially with UBC is that you seem to maintain three payrolls, you have one where you may call a permanent establishment, you have those you pay with Government money, you have those you pay from your sources. But you are one entity, doesn’t this bring about discrimination among your employees? The way you pay them, the terms and conditions of their service?”

The committee was meeting officials from Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to respond to queries raised in the December 2023 Auditor General’s report.

The managing director Winston Agaba who led the delegation from UBC, answered by saying that the revamping started mainly with the Television staff since TV is the face and image of UBC

He added that it’s the reason why the first people to be taken at the payroll were the TV staff and administration staff noting that, “The second phase in the second year, we were supposed to have additional funding because that was a presidential directive, the funding was supposed to run for five years, we only got one year and the second year, we got zero. So that is how the anomaly came in. However, the Board has already addressed to this issue and part of the recommendations of the Board to the Minister is to harmonize this position and, in the letters, where we are requesting that 100% of wage should be paid by the Government,” said Agaba.

Agaba also admitted to being oblivious about the existence of four ghost workers on UBC’s payroll, who kept on drawing a salary from the Corporation, without doing any work.

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He noted that he was only alerted to this fraud after the payroll audit conducted by the Ministry of Public Service.

“At the time of harmonizing the headcount by Public Service, it was also at the time that we were notified that some people were on the payroll of other agencies. And that has been rectified, we terminated those that were on our side and even the IGG has interested herself in the matter. So, the IGG came and is handling that matter,” said Agaba.

His remarks were in response to a question posed by Eddie Kwizera (Bukimbiri County) who tasked the officials to furnish the Committee with the list and amount of funds lost through the payment of ghost workers as alluded to in the December 2023 report.

The individuals include; Yosam Rugundana (Deputy Head Teacher in Nakasongola) no recovery plans have been put in place yet, Ssempa Kanakulya (employed at State House), Patrick Baligonzaki employee at (Busitema University) and Christine Birungi Birabwa.

However, it was revealed that the Inspectorate of Government was only investigating Birungi, with MPs wondering why only Birungi was being investigated by IGG.

“When you read, the Auditor General is talking about payment of non-existent employees, underpayment, and irregular payment, which can be a big motivation for staff and they end up being very corrupt. So, can we get comments on why you have staff that you are paying and are non-existent? Can you give us a list of those people who were getting salary from your side and from outside and you tell us, why the Human Resource isn’t on interdiction,” said Kwizera.

Agaba also admitted before Parliament that the entity is yet to pay former Presidential Candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye, the over Shs80million he was awarded by the High Court, after the national broadcaster refused to run his adverts during the 2016 general elections.

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