Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Officers in limbo as allegations of ghost employee fraud abound at DRTS

Allegations abound that senior officers at the Department of Road Transport and Safety are conniving with their counterparts at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) to frustrate junior officers who are repeatedly transferred to other areas without a pay hike. There are also suspicions that the senior officers may be swindling government of a lot of money by creating ghosts employees and diverting the salaries meant for their juniors to these ghost accounts. Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that all is not well at DRTS, as a number of officers are disgruntled and demoralized after they were transferred to other stations, supposedly at a higher D scale, but currently find themselves still stuck on the lower C scale.

Some of the officers said they suspect that their superiors later connive with officers at DPSM to make it appear as if the transferred officers are being paid on the upper scales, where as the reality is that the salaries of the transferred officers remain the same or their scales do not change. “We suspect that the officers from DPSM and DTRS create new ghost salary scales for these transferred officers and later pocket the money,” said an insider. Sunday Standard is in possession of a letter from one of the employees who suffered the same fate at the hands of his employers. In the letter, dated 26 May 2014 from one Edward Pule, an officer who was transferred to Serowe and addressed to permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communication, the employee complains about the same issue.

Pule’s letter states that he was transferred on promotion to the position of Senior Transport Officer under a new salary scale of D4. However, Pule said that on arrival at his new station, he was demoted to his previous salary scale C1 and ordered to reimburse government. He therefore sought an explanation from his superiors. “In your maiden transfer letter on promotion reference C/MT&C PF4/123(70) AD(R) dated 10th August 2011, you explicitly made it clear that the post is of Senior Traffic Safety Officer-D4 scale salary tenable at Serowe on assumption of duty. The above assertion has its affirmation from the Acting Director’s (DRTS) letter dated 17thJanuary 2012. It confirms the offer to be a station Manager in Serowe. Unfortunately I was demoted to the previous salary scale (C1) and ordered to reimburse government the difference of salary scale between C1 and D4.”

In a subsequent letter, dated 18th June 2013, Pule was transferred to Serowe Department of Road Transport and Safety on present salary and notch without a post. “I bowed down on your insistence that I should report to Serowe knowing that my post, Senior Traffic Safety Officer is here in Serowe as purported in your communiqu├®s. Therefore I am in a limbo; I do not know my position, my assignment this side or my mandate. Succinctly I have no employment contract because of this ghost post. I believe you will hasten to rectify this managerial impotency,” said Pule in his letter. When Sunday Standard contacted him, Pule confirmed that he has issues with his employers. “I do not know where you got that letter but it is true that I wrote to the permanent secretary requesting him to state my position here in Serowe because as far as I can tell you I do not know my position and I am not doing anything this side, I just go to the office to seat under trees. I have written several letters but those with powers are reluctant to assist,” he said. DRTS spokesperson Mmolawa Phuthego denied allegations that his superiors were involvement in a scam to defraud government and frustrate junior officers. “I am not aware of such issues, but sometime back we had issues concerning scales of officers who were transferred to other stations. There were two or three cases, but I am not sure what the eventual outcome was. I will enquire more on the matter and revert to you,” he said.

BOFEPUSU secretary general Tobokani Rari said the matter confirms DPSM director Cater Morupisi’s recent failure to account before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee why they continued paying people who did not appear on the payroll. “Our feeling is that DPSM management is not in control. We do not condone it, it is clear corruption and those who are responsible for public service must take action,” he said.

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