NSSF Probe Report:
The Select Committee of Parliament has recommended that Betty Amongi Ongom, the Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development resigns her position in the public interest.
The committee that probed into the alleged mismanagement of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) implicated Betty Amongi of interfering with the Fund’s NSSF operations.
On 25th January 2023 Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa appointed a select committee led by the Mbarara City South legislator, Mwine Mpaka Rwamirama to probe NSSF’s corporate governance structures. The seven-member committee also evaluated the status and safety of workers’ savings following allegations of fraud at NSSF.
While presenting the final report of the Committee during plenary sitting Chaired by Anita Among on Wednesday, Mpaka faulted Amongi for abuse of office after she unlawfully directed NSSF, which she supervises to avail her Ministry with six billion Shillings to the prejudice of savers’ funds.
He explained that the Minister’s actions were arbitrary and an abuse of the duty under the NSSF Act thereby bringing her conduct within the ambit of the prohibitions under Section 11 of the Anti-Corruption Act on abuse of office which warrants her resignation with immediate effect.
The Committee also faulted the Fund’s Managing Director and his senior staff for an illegality after their involvement in the initiation of 1.8 billion Shillings concealed under the Corporate Social Responsibility/Investment. They allocated 250 million to the Board Chairman, 250 million to Amongi, 500 million to Board Members and 800 million to different unions.
During the probe, the NSSF top management while appearing before the Committee justified that they made the allocations because of pressure from the Board Members to make donations as an investment for stakeholders which the report quashed as an act of illegality.
The Mpaka report recommended the NSSF top management; Richard Byarugaba, his Deputy Patrick Ayota, Chief Financial Officer Stevens Mwanje, and Barbara Arimi Teddy, the Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs who initiated the 1.8 billion Shillings budget for donations to step down with immediate effect.
NSSF Probe Report:
By stepping aside, Mpaka said it would pave way for further investigations by the Inspector General of Government – IGG for the offences relating to abuse of office, corruption and conspiracy to commit a felony with a view of immediate prosecution.
Particularly, the Committee noted that the Chief Financial Officer Stevens Mwanje failed his responsibility of ensuring that he obtains accountability for monies disbursed to the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions – COFTU and the National Organisation of Trade Unions (NOTU) amounting to 805.525 million Shillings between January 2018 to December 2022.
It emerged that Mwanje was appointed to the position by NSSF in October 2017 without being a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants contrary to Section 34 (2) of the Accountants Act, 2013. The Act provides that all heads of accounts, finance and internal audit in all public private sector entities shall be members of the Institute.
Thus the Committee wants the Directorate of Public Prosecution – DPP to prosecute Mwanje for practicing without a certificate. Section 35 (2) of the Accountants Act provides that any person who practices without certificate commits an offense and is upon conviction liable to a fine not exceeding 500 currency points, an equivalent of 10 million Shillings or imprisonment not exceeding two years and 10 months or both.
Further, the Committee pronounced itself that the nomination and subsequent appointments of Dr Sam Lyomoki and Peninnah Tukamwesiga as representatives on the NSSF Board by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development were illegal and they should be recalled.
Also the Committee noted that two former Board Members; Julius Bahemuka and Fred Bamwesigye upon resignation were unlawfully paid a total sum of 624 million Shillings by the NSSF yet resignation is voluntary and thus not entitled to compensations whatsoever.
They recommended the Board Members who included; Dr Peter Kimbowa, Patrick Ocailap, Aggrey Kibenge, Peninnah Tukamwesiga, Dr. Sam Lyomoki, Julius Bahemuka, Hassan Lwabahyi Mudiba, Fred Bamwesigye and Dr. Eng Silver Mugisha who approved the said payments should collectively refund the monies to the savers’ Fund within seven days or face prosecution.
Last but not least, the Committee also recommended that COFTU and NOTU should refund the 806 million Shillings which they illegally received from NSSF.