By David Aoloch Bion
In the second year of peace, there had been projects, programs and activities taking place in the country The King formed the Government of National Unity in Meroe. The 2nd Uncle established the self –rule, he formed the Provincial Government in Napata., he , the 2nd Uncle became the Chief Servant and all boys became the public servants
James Majok was appointed a controller of money in Department of Finance . Little or no knowledge had he about the financial administration. However, a relative of the Chief Servant , so he deserved. The money to run the self-rule had to come from the centre. The agreement stipulated that the province, where oil comes had to get fifty percent share of the oil revenues, and oil is drilled from Sudd, therefore , trillions of dollars poured into the province.
The pay sheets were prepared; the rebels were paid the salaries for the first time in two decade of the civil war. All citizens of the province who were in the refugee camps received the money. As the result of the salaries, the lives of the people reawakened in the province like the spring rose. Most people realigned the past events by celebrating old events, which passed uncelebrated during the war.
One man reorganized the wedding day of his wife he married fifteen years back. Another man realigned the naming of his son, who was named eleven years ago. He bought the bull and wine. They partied.
There was meteoric in the provincial life of directors, accountants, pay masters, cashiers, and officers of organized forces.
There was disproportion between the property acquired by official and their prescribed salaries and benefits within the period of six months. Merest cashiers had acquired porch car like Mercedez Benz, they sent their family to neighbouring country. They have been building the storey houses. However , There was a mystery about how do these lower official acquire such properties.
One day, after payment of salaries, James Majok examined the financial reports and the pay sheets; he found some names were repeated. Some signatures looked the same. He became suspicious that something sinister was happening. He informed the minister on suspected malpractice, the minster ignored it.
Another day, in the veterans club, where he go to play chess, dominoes, and cards. He met old friend;
“How are you the minister of wealth” the old friend scoffed him
“Who is the minister of wealth? Do you think it is impossible to be! I pity you ” Majok snubbed
“Are you not working in finance?”
“Though, I am work , I am not the minster of wealth ”
“Even if you are not the minster , I think you are rich, aren’t you ?”
“Why am I rich?”
“You are working in the finance”
“If I work there, does it mean I am rich?”
“Yes, of course, if the cashiers, the lowest are rich, why not ! . The controller”
“Controlling the account does not mean you withdraw public money as you want or as you like, there are administrative structures, procedures in place”
“That is the principle, but the fact is you bend those rules to fulfill your desires and interests .and self evidence is all financial officials have expensive cars, their wives have golden rings, golden necklaces , golden earring , diamond rings, diamond necklaces, diamond earrings , How do they acquire those luxurious items , if they are not rich ?’’ the friend explained
‘’ I don’t know ‘’ , Majok said ‘’What I know is they possess prestigious jewelries and cars but I don’t know how they acquire them .I am flabbergasted. How do they get the money?’’
“That is the secret; even you, you have your own scam of swindling money out of the treasury. Don’t you? And we don’t know it , in every layer of the government , there is scandalous machinery which is not known or understood by the other levels of the government ”
‘’ I am not aware of such clandestine scheme, but if you know you can tell me’’
‘’Honestly, I don’t know but I assume and my assumption must be right , there is maladministration somewhere in public institutions , be a ministry or public corporation ‘’
‘’ You can give a hint , show the top of the scam tree and I will go to the root of the scam ’’
‘’ I am told that, when they are preparing the pay sheets, the head of department will illegally add 100 ghost names into the payroll. When the accountants see that , they illegally add another 50 ghost names in the payroll too , when the cashiers see that they illegally add another 25 ghost names in and therefore on every tier of the administration , where the pay sheet pass through something fraudulence encroach in ”
‘’Thank you for your information ‘’
On the working day , Majok came to the office , he informed the Servant in Charge of Finance about these disgusting details, he uncovered in club. The Servant said he would look into it. Days, weeks passed, he did not act.
Majok unilaterally took the task upon himself , he organized Inspection and Verification team of staffs to go with the pay masters, and cashiers to all Departments , he instructed them to “pay anyone in person”
The Committee took the salaries, went to the Departments. Two days on, the committee he sent to Health called him. They told him they were being forced to pay the absentee by the officials. . He advised them to pay the absentee but registered their names on separate paper. So they paid all the absentee and registered their names.
On the third day, the committee he sent to Interior called him. They told him, that they were being intimidated by officials to pay the absentee he told them to pay but registered their names .
After the payment of the salaries, the committees submitted the report to him. Forty percent of workers and officials were absentee or the ghost names. He did not give the report to the Servant in Charge . He kept..
One month later, Majok took responsibility upon himself again. As the Controller of the Account . He withheld the salaries of the absentee, or the “Ghost Names” who were not present in person during the verification exercises. The Defense was the only department that did not hand in any ghost names., because it rejected the committee straight away .And it was the only Department with greatest number of the ghost workers follows by Interior .
After the withholding of the ghost workers salaries , the cashier in the Health Department took the salary of Servant in Charge to him. It was only his salary, there was no ghost names salaries with it. The money was little. The Servant was surprised .
“What is this money?” the Servant asked
“It is your salary” answered the cashier .
“Why is it little like this?”
“The money of the other names had not been released from finance’’
‘’ The committee came last month; it registered those who were not present. This month, they withheld their money”
“Who sent the committee?”
“It is the finance ”
“Are they playing with us or what?” growled the Servant . He was annoyed.
He strode out from his office, he drove to the finance. He arrived at the offices. He told the Servant in Charge of Finance about four hundred staffs whose salaries were suspended. The Servant did not know anything about it. He summoned the Director. The Director said he knew nothing about this . He called Majok, Majok admitted that he was the one who suspended the salaries. He questioned him why he did that
Majok said he sent out the committee to inspect and verify the names in payroll four month ago. Four hundred and ten staffs were not present during the payment. When the team asked them, the officials threatened, intimidated them. So he ordered committee to pay them but write their names on separate paper, basing on that, he withheld the salaries of those absentee. After he explained that. The minster cleared his throat:.
“Why didn’t you inform me?” asked the minster .
‘’I gave the report to Director, I thought he gave it to you”’ said Majok
‘’When did you give the report?’’ asked the Director. ‘’ if you are mistaken, don’t grope’’, the Director warned
“What do you mean by withholding the money of those who were absent?” the minister of health asked Majok.
“These are ghost names; I suspend their salaries until they come” Majok answered
“What are the ghost names ?’’ asked the Minister
“These are staffs who do not exist but they are on the payroll as a trick to get money out from public funds”
“Look here”, the Servant said opening the list of the four hundred staffs “you say, the ghost names are the persons who do not exist. The name at the top here is the name of my wife, does she not exist?” asked the minister
“She exists” answered Majok .
“Why, then, you suspend her salary.’’, said the Servant
‘’she is not government employee”” said Majok
‘’She was in bush with during the liberation war . She deserved the salaries. Another name here is the name of my son , he was born during the war , he deserve the salaries ’’ narrated the Servant .
“They exist but they not government workers” insisted Majok
‘’If those who were not in the bush with us , who were enjoying life in London and Wahington , who have not smelled gunpowder one day can receive salaries why not my wife , why my son who suffered in the bush ?’’ said the Servant
‘’That is illegal under the law ‘’ said Majok
The Servant in Charge of finance stopped Majok from quarreling or debating with the Servant to leave the office. He left. The two Servants discussed the matter. The Servant left.
The Servant called Majok and he warned him seriously, and he ordered him to write the cheque of withheld salaries immediately.
Majok became lethargic, he walked out of the Servant’s office; he jeered “how can I work with such irrational Servant s? What absurdity!, how can you talk of nauseating issues openly like that . These Servantss have eaten the bull of shame so they don’t feel ashamed”
He sat on the chair, pulled the drawer, picked the cheque book, he wrote the cheque. He gave it to the messenger , he took it to the Health.
Three days passed , the Servant in Charge of Interior Department came complaining of forty thousand police officers whose salaries were withheld. When the Servant in Charge of Finance heard , he was maddened , he called Majok, he came in
“Come and sit here in my place, Majok ” snarled the Servant .
“Why? Boss!” asked Majok .
“You are the Servant ”
“Why am I the Servant ?”
‘’Are you arguing with?’’. The Servant stood up, he slapped him. ‘’ Majok ‘’ he roared . He breathed heavily with anger ‘’I tell you Majok, sit in my place because you are the Servant . How can you take that decision without informing , This is ultra vires ”
“Not at all sir” Majok said weakly
The Servant rushed back to his chair, he took his ebony stick. He beat Majok five times. The Servant in Charge of interior intervened, he held him from beating Majok .
“Why are you beating me?” Majok asked
“Why did you suspend the salaries of forty-five policemen without informing me ?” asked the outrageous Servant .
“Gentleman” said Servant in Charge of Interior , “Why did you take as a caliber decision without informing your boss , do you know such a decision can behead you ?”
“All right, three months ago,… ‘’ said Majok ,
‘’stop it , Don’t explain anything ‘’ interrupted the Servant .
‘’Let him explain to me ‘’ said Interior Servant, ‘’ tell me precisely why you suspend the forty thousand policemen salaries?’’
‘’ First, there are ghost names in police, Secondly, there are names which are incomplete. For example , ‘Malual’, and no second or third name. “Guei ‘’ and no second or third name. this is not allowed in the payroll. So those names which are incomplete, and those who were present during the verification I withhold their salaries ‘’, Majok narrated
“ I can assure you , there are no ghost names in Police . and for those incomplete names , I am the one who puts those names like that, Malual is the name of my pet dog. Guei is the name of the tree I had been sitting under it for seven years in frontline during the war” the Servant explained.
“This is wrong; you have no right to put the name of your dog or tree in the pay sheet. This is illegal”
“If those who did fight in the liberation war are receiving million of pounds, why not our dogs and our trees?” said the Servant ‘’ we know this is unethical , we are trying to provoke some people’’
‘’This is not the time of war’’
“You have just come from the refugee camp where you have been hiding during the war. Do you know how many battles I took part in? Do you know how many trenches I have dug? This is the land that has killed us, and we shall do whatever we want in it” said the Servant .
“If it has killed you, why are you still alive? I know those who the land killed. These are the martyrs who fought and died in the battlefield”
“We shall put you where you will not see the sun” said the Servant .
Majok was arrested by the Servant in Charge of Finance.