IGG, Ex-ISO Staff Lock Horns

A group of former employees of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) have lashed out at the Inspector General of Government for halting the payment of Shs 29 billion, which is part-payment of their retirement benefits.

Some of the former employees, who fall under the body of Uganda Veterans Internal Security Organisation (Uvetiso), told The Observer on Saturday that the IGG investigation was likely to prolong their woes.

“It is ten years since we were retrenched. We have a lot of debts,” said Jamal Kitandwe, the treasurer of the group.

Background:

According to Kitandwe, in 2005, after 1,078 ex-ISO staff sued government over non-payment of their terminal benefits, the High court awarded them Shs 72bn as compensation. For seven years, they tried to secure this money but were unsuccessful until they secured a meeting with President Museveni in 2013. Museveni ordered that a ministerial committee be formed to study the matter further.

The committee considered the Shs 72bn court had awarded the ex-ISO staff to be on the high side. After a series of meetings with the leaders of the former spies, they settled for Shs 39bn. In June this year, Kitandwe said, the ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development released Shs 10bn to Uvetiso, promising to pay the remaining Shs 29bn in September.

But the IGG halted the final payment in September after the body received complaints from four ex-ISO staff that there had been some irregularities in the distribution of the Shs 10bn.

Uvetiso has since instituted a court challenge the IGG’s decision to halt the payment. And in a twist of events, four ex-ISO staff who had initially sworn affidavits in support of the IGG’s investigation have since had a change of heart.

In a letter dated October 2 and addressed to the IGG, Zziwa Kawewe, Nathan Gayiira, Geoffrey Musisi and Frank Rwakijjuma, who were behind the petition, note that they had been misled.

“We, the four people who petitioned your office and whose names and signatures appear below, wish by this letter to inform you of our decision to withdraw the petition we lodged in your office regarding the payments of terminal benefits to former ISO staff. Kindly regard it [petition] as withdrawn and of no consequence and consequently lift the order previously issued by you to stop the payments,” the letter reads.

Munira Ali, the spokesperson of the Inspectorate of Government, told The Observer that even if some of the petitioners had changed their minds, the inspectorate will go ahead with the investigation.

Source : The Observer

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