Police commanders swindle officers’ COVID-19 allowances, IGP Ochola orders probe

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola has ordered for investigations into allegations of police officers swindling COVID-19 allowances for junior officers.

The Chief of Joint Security Maj. Gen Jack Bakasumba, last week released close to 3 billion shillings for both senior and junior police officers incorporated in the COVID-19 National Task Force and Joint Security Task Force.

The money was for 25,977 police officers who have been performing various roles.

Gen. Bakasumba’s letter indicated that each senior officer was to receive 120,000 shillings while junior policemen and policewomen were supposed to receive 110,000 shillings each.

Gen. Bakashumba explained that the money had been sent to the respective stations where the officers are attached. Besides, he indicated that it had been distributed according to the number of police officers attached to task forces from every station.

Three days after the money had been disbursed, police officers complained that they had been ordered to sign for 50,000 shillings while others were told to sign for 70,000 shillings.

A source revealed that by the end of last week, the number of complaints had reached 700 but it jumped to more than 1,000 by Wednesday 20th this week.

“Several officers are complaining that they are being told to sign half of what they are supposed to get. Others say they haven’t received the money yet it is more than a week since the allowances were delivered at various stations. This is why IGP has ordered for an impromptu probe by PSU,” a source revealed.

Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the Director Police medical services says that have received several complaints and a probe is underway.

Professional Standards Unit is commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police -ACP Sarah Kibwika. AIGP Byaruhanga whose 428 health workers are involved in the national task force warned that action will be taken against Division and District police commanders for swindling the allowances.

Uganda Police Force received a supplementary budget of 37 billion shillings to cater for COVID-19 expenses which include allowances for police officers, procuring gloves, fuel, food and masks.

Even though the latest figures indicate police force’s numbers at 41,760, Gen Bakasumba released allowances for only 25,977 people.

Read Also: MPs demand explanation on non-payment of security officers

According to Gen Bakasumba’s statement, some of the police units show all their officers incorporated in the joint security task force. For instance, Counter-Terrorism’s entire force of 4,483 was involved in COVID-19 operations, followed by Anti-Stock Theft Unit – ASTU with 1,150 officers, 999 Patrol Unit with 289 and Air Wing with 36 personnel.

Counter-terrorism took the biggest share of the allowances with 496.9 million shillings, Kampala North region with 193.9 million shillings, Rwenzori East region 146.5 million shillings, ASTU with 126.7 million shillings, while Greater Masaka region took 120 million shillings.