Customers of a decide on Parliament committee investigating allegations of corruption and mismanagement at the workers’ Fund have retreated to an undisclosed location to appraise evidence gathered, and deliberate on submissions by dozens of witnesses during a two-week public hearing that opened on January 31.
Presentations ahead of the committee chaired by MP Mwine Mpaka (NRM, Mbarara Metropolis South) mixed the really serious, the comical, the introspective and the apologetic. Tempers rose and fell according to the line of questioning, which in some occasions remaining witnesses muted, bewildered and, or second-guessing their responses. Others retracted submissions when caught by the committee for telling lies under oath.
Parliament Speaker Anita Among purchased the investigations following a petition by a one particular Richard Occupation Matua, who determined himself as a member of the pension fund. It unearthed startling revelations about governance of the Countrywide Social Stability Fund (NSSF), energy fights and political impact peddling at the entity as properly as questionable handling of funds at the fiscal elephant in town.
There have been open up disagreements and tempered exchanges between witnesses, denials and admissions, finger-pointing and pleas significantly by the Fund’s major brass for a fast wrap of the inquiries. Explanation? Proclamations at the public listening to, no matter if factual or false, ended up harmful NSSF brand, corporation secretary Agnes Isharaza explained.
The committee’s terms of reference have been four-fold: Scrutinise company governance constructions at NSSF, examine circumstances bordering the stalled reappointment of Mr Richard Byarugaba as the Fund’s taking care of director, examine the position and safety of savers’ cash, and study the extent of stakeholder engagement in final decision-building and inquire into similar issues.
The public hearings over a fortnight were being performed at various committee rooms at Parliament Creating in Kampala, and the members were being presented 30 times to full the undertaking and post their report containing results and recommendations, which lapses by the close of this thirty day period.
Listed here are major eight troubles on which the MPs ought to return an view centered on the final result of the general public hearing, which coincided with a separate probe by the Inspectorate of Federal government – both of those of which precede a prepared forensic audit for which an intercontinental audit organization is currently being lined.
1. Stalled reappointment of Richard Byarugaba as NSSF controlling director
The Board of the workers’ Fund experienced suggested that then managing director Richard Byarugaba and his Deputy Patrick Ayota be each individual reappointed for an additional five many years. Both folks are higher than 60 decades, which below Uganda’s legislation, sites them in the retiree fold.
As the appointing authority, Gender and Labour Minister Betty Amongi named Mr Ayota substantive NSSF deputy managing director, and selected him to act as running director. The minister withheld her signature on Mr Byarugaba’s task give, indicating allegations of monetary impropriety levelled in opposition to him by whistleblowers ought to initial be investigated. Mr Byarugaba, with out divulging facts, told Parliament’s pick committee that he could not have his career back because he “disagreed” with minister Amongi.
2. Fiscal statements
The principal petitioner Richard Position Matua instructed the committee that revenue of savers like himself was getting inappropriately used underneath Mr Byarugaba’s tenure. He cited around Shs3b used to procure NSSF good playing cards and machines conceived for customers to look at their cost savings, which the Fund by now shares the balances month-to-month as a result of immediate quick text messages to unique member’s mobile mobile phone handset.
The ex-MD and incumbent Fund bosses admitted that they made a “mistake” and the task was “bad”.
It was further exposed that Dr Sam Lyomoki, the Central Organisation of No cost Trade Unions (Coftu) secretary normal, is accused of acquiring Shs100 million from NSSF and not accounting for the cash.
3. Questionable financial loans
The committee listened to that NSSF in 2010 available a decline-generating Uganda clay, in which it now experienced major shareholding, an unsecured Shs11b bank loan. Not a solitary coin has been repaid and the sum, with desire, has now accumulated to Shs20b. NSSF also loaned Housing Finance Financial institution Shs29b and information submitted to the committee places the excellent sum at Shs9b, even though MPs have been not delivered payment documents for the Shs20b.
The find committee did not summon officers of Uganda Clay and Housing Finance Bank to shed light on the transactions. Mr Martin Nsubuga, the chief govt officer of Uganda Retirement Gains Regulatory Authority (URBRA), the pension sector regulator, instructed the committee that “it was irregular for the Fund to give [out] a loan [to Uganda Clays].”
4. Budget blues
The Fund’s spending budget for 2022/2023 Fiscal Calendar year came under tighter scrutiny around suspicious allocation. The pink flag was elevated more than Shs6b allegedly demanded by Gender and Labour Minister Betty Amongi, who co-supervises NSSF with Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.
Amid roaring laughter, Mr Kasaija disowned the allocation ahead of the committee, saying he only listened to about it from his counterpart Amongi. NSSF Board chairman Peter Kimbowa denied they authorized the allocation as Ms Amongi claimed.
“We have not authorized the Shs6b … The board has requested [NSSF] administration to occur up with a complete workplan and we examine how the several pursuits are going to be resourced and we also study the accountability metrics that will be attached to this task. This has not happened,” he submitted.
The committee read that failure to supply the Shs6b was the lead to of the fallout between Minister Amongi and Mr Byarugaba, an allegation the previous denied. Mr Byarugaba disclosed that they had allocated Shs1.8b to be shared between minister Amongi, board chairman Kimbowa and his customers, and two workers’ organisations (Notu and Coftu) with a framework for accountability.
The intended action for the funds was alternately described as Company Social Investment (CSI) and Company Social Responsibility (CSR). The committee confiscated the mobile phones of Mr Byarugaba and Mr Stevens Mwanje, the NSSF chief monetary officer, and surrendered the handset to law enforcement for forensic evaluation just after the duo disagreed on the dollars entries in the spending plan.
5. Revenue on suspense/dormant accounts
The committee was instructed that workers’ saving on dormant or suspense accounts, which the Auditor Basic uncovered experienced gathered to Shs140b in the last a few decades, was being irregularly withdrawn in what was considered to be an elaborate scheme likely involving some NSSF workforce. The Fund, as a result of an inner audit, had proven irregular entry to the account and just one situation is being prosecuted at the Anti-Corruption Courtroom in Kololo.
NSSF’s Chief Professional Officer Geoffrey Sajjabi located himself in a corner of bother immediately after MP Richard Gafabusa (Bwamba County), for the duration of the general public hearing, confronted him last Friday with data that Mr Sajjabi experienced a number of near kin working in the exact same section he heads. Mr Sajjabi admitted that his sister, a brother-in-regulation, niece and a nephew operate at NSSF. The lawmaker questioned irrespective of whether the recruitments were being a final result of nepotism or coincidence.
“I honestly consider that it is extremely unfair to vulgarise a problem of folks that have absent as a result of the university process in Uganda [and apply] for careers that are advertised. They shouldn’t apply for work opportunities in a business where a relative of theirs will work? All of them use by means of departments other than the a single that I direct and sooner or later if they conclude up in my division, it is not my business,” Mr Sajjabi shot again.
7. Impact peddling
Mr Byarugaba accused his former boss, minister Amongi, of applying her political place to influence matters at NSSF. He educated the committee that the explanation why he does not have a task “is mainly because I defied her orders.” The minister herself said she experienced also independently arrive beneath serious force from unique quarters and secretly recorded some of the conversations in which she was requested to indication off Mr Byarugaba’s reappointment.
8. Governance at NSSF
The corporate governance at the Fund came below tighter scrutiny following allegations that Coftu secretary standard, Dr SamLyomoki, and Ms Peninnah Tukamwesiga, a attorney and Coftu member, illegally nominated on their own to characterize workers on the NSSF board.
The committee heard that NSSF does not have a title for Workers’ Property, its headquarters in Kampala. Alcon Construction Business created Staff Residence but a contractual dispute ended in a protracted lawful struggle that the Fund at last won at Uganda’s Supreme Court. It remained unclear why the title of the land on which the developing sits remained in Alcon’s custody or why the NSSF executives about the years unsuccessful to get hold of a particular title to safeguard its high-value asset.