Widow Accuses CAO, HR of Sabotaging Gratuity Claims

The Lira Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and the Principal Human Resource Officer are on the spot for allegedly frustrating the efforts of a widow to access the pension and gratuity of her late husband. Sarah Ikwayo, a mother of eight and resident of the Kaberamaido district was married to the late Pius Enasu, a former Grade III teacher employed by Lira district until his death in 2010. 

However, Ikwayo says that she has been processing her late husband’s benefits without much success. She accuses Ben Otim Ogwete, the Lira CAO, and Albert Apenyo, the Principal Human Resource Officer- PHRO of “sitting” on her husband’s benefits. Ikwayo says she can no longer pay her children’s school fees or feed them because she has wasted all the resources in processing her late husband’s benefits.

The deceased’s eldest son, Jimmy Otwoma, wondered why his mother has not succeeded in getting their father’s benefits despite having acquired all the necessary documents. He also accused the Principal Human Resource Officer of frustrating their efforts.

Otwoma, who is currently buying produce in Lira City, is worried that his younger siblings may become unruly due to frustration.

The family is considering dragging the two civil servants (CAO and HR) to court. Through Ponsiano Okello and Co. Advocates, Ikwayo argues that the actions of the officers have greatly inconvenienced, and traumatized them leading to psychological torture.

They have given the district a week’s ultimatum starting Friday, December 9th to process and pay her late husband’s pension and other benefits and pay them Shillings 110m as damages and legal fees. However, Albert Apenyo, the Lira Principal Human Resource Officer trashed the accusations, saying Ikwanyo’s efforts to access her husband’s gratuity were hindered by the lack of legal documents required by the Ministry of Public service, adding that she is not the only one affected. 

“Some of these people had the correct information and we have processed it but those ones that had challenges such as the late father to Sam Engola, such cases of 70’s there is no way the beneficiaries can avail the documents and that is what causes the delay in payment because we have to consult the ministry of public service. Otherwise, if the information is readily available we work there, and then within the span of two months and we pay,” he said. Apenyo was, however, quick to note that Ikwayo’s file has finally been approved by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Service.

In the last financial year, Lira District forwarded 36 claims to the Ministry of Finance out of which eight clean records were provided and 12 have so far been verified.

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