A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that some civil servants connived to steal pension money amounting to K3 billion.
The audit was initiated after six cheques were intercepted following a complaint that pension payments were being made using distorted information.
The NAO’s investigation revealed that the transactions were forged by perpetrators and all the six transactions were initiated, authorized, approved and countersigned by the same people.
“All the transactions were initiated on the same day on 17th September 2015 and the cheques were printed/issued on 24th September 2015.
“This indicates a well-coordinated process which means these perpetrators knew when to strike and get away with it. We also believe this was not the first time, they must have been doing for a long time,” says the report.
The report adds that the perpetrators might have stolen more money.
It was further revealed that K393,625,019.99 was stolen when the culprits allocated the money to 59 people with the same employment number while more money was stolen using fake retired civil servants.
According to the report, when interrogating the Human Resources Management Information System (HRMIS) master database for period ending 30 June 2016, auditors noted a significant number of officers were missing from the master database of all employees.
“For example, George M Kachikopa with employee number 12007 who was paid K15,463,773.57 could not be traced but his employee number was found to have been assigned to Hetherwick R.Z Njati currently working in Ministry of Finance.
“A total of 766 retired officers’ names could not be traced and payments for all the anomalies amounted to K2, 959,432,664.70,” says an excerpt of the report.
Another way the thieves stole money was reintroducing into the system employee numbers for officers who retired years back and assigning the numbers to other names presented as retiring officers.
Auditors during the exercise searched 20 names of the so called retiring civil servants and the names did not match with those existing in HRMIS Master Database.
“This irregularity has resulted into an amount of K254, 022, 929 unaccounted of loss through fraud,” says the report.