MPs shocked by over 2,000 ghost officers on Uganda police payroll

MPs shocked by over 2,000 ghost officers on Uganda police payroll
Officers of the Uganda Police Force undertaking training exercises at at the Kigo shooting range grounds.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | During an interaction with the Shadow Minister for Internal Affairs, Betty Nambooze, members of Parliament’s Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs were stunned to discover the presence of over 2,000 ‘ghost’ police officers receiving salaries.

Hon. Nambooze presented a report to the committee, highlighting the alarming number of non-existent officers being paid by the Police Force.

She expressed concern about the Uganda Police Force’s request to recruit more officers before the 2026 elections, stressing that addressing the issue of ghost officers receiving salaries should take precedence over allocating funds for additional recruitment.

According to Hon. Nambooze, an audit conducted by the police, on the directives of IGP Ochola, revealed the existence of 2,000 ghost officers pocketing their salaries. She noted that during the handover to the new IGP (Okoth Ochola) on March 15, 2018, former IGP Kale Kayihura stated that he had left a force comprising 46,000 personnel.

Police resumed recruitment in 2019 and passed out a cohort of 4,809 police officers in August 2020 including police constables and assistant inspectors of police. In 2021, police again passed out over 5,000 recruits.

Although police have been retiring nearly 500 personnel on grounds of clocking the retirement age of 60 years and health matters, the two new cohorts essentially put the numbers at more than 56,000 going by the numbers left by Gen. Kayihura.

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The shadow minister Betty Nambooze has underscored the importance of prioritizing budget allocations in the upcoming financial year (2024-2025) for critical areas such as improving police housing and removing ghost officers from the payroll.

Betty Nambooze argued that these steps should be taken before seeking additional funds for recruitment, especially with a payroll burdened by phantom personnel.

In response to the revelations, committee chairperson Wilson Kajwengye instructed the clerk to summon the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, and police leadership to provide explanations on the matter.