The just concluded police manpower audit has unearthed more than 8,000 ghost police officers, URN has learnt.
According to highly placed police sources, a report handed over to the inspector general of police (IGP) Martin Okoth Ochola last week shows that there were close to 40,000 police officers and policemen.
These include about 900 officers who were missing on the nominal roll and all those on other police records with the exception of recruitment files. Prior to the audit, police records indicated a total of 47,300 personnel on the nominal roll, an increase of 4,200 since the 2014 audit.
According to sources privy to the report, Ochola has tasked the audit team to investigate and establish how the ghost officers came to be on the nominal roll. Ochola who replaced Gen Kale Kayihura in March this year as police boss, ordered for a countrywide head count in June.
"Some of the ghosts are as a result of deserters and retired officers who remain on the records even after they have long left the force," the source told URN on condition of anonymity.
It is yet to be established who has been receiving the salaries of the retired officers and deserters.
"Imagine they have been paying ghosts and yet there are so many police officers who have not been earning salary. They give excuses that the names of these officers are not on the nominal roll. They get time to create ghosts and they don't have time to rectify the nominal roll," a police officer attached to the Field Force Police (FFP) who has spent one year and four months without pay said.
Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima said he wasn't aware that the headcount exercise had been concluded and a report made.
"No no, the exercise is not yet over. Anyway, let me ask the responsible people," Kayima said.
The last similar police manpower head count exercise was in 2009. In 2007, the army manpower audit found 3,000 ghost soldiers in its system during a payroll clean up exercise.
The revelation came four years after President Yoweri Museveni set up a committee of inquiry in 2003 to investigate claims of ghost soldiers.
Following the finding of ghost soldiers, the Defense ministry installed a computerized system known as the Information, Records and Management system to track the number of soldiers.