NSSF Saga: MPs insist Amongi must resign

Parliament was a battlefield of words on Thursday as lawmakers grilled Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi for abuse of office and demanded her immediate resignation.

Among is in the eye of the storm over the alleged mismanagement of National Social Security Fund (NSSF). She appeared for plenary to make her defense on a select committee report that recommended she resigns for directing that Shs 6 billion is availed to her ministry.

On 19 January 2023, the House resolved to institute a committee to inquire into the operations of NSSF, following reports of corruption and mismanagement of the Shs17.9 trillion fund.  

The select committee, chaired by Mbarara South Division Member of Parliament , Hon. Mwine Mpaka established that the minister’s actions were irregular and in breach of section

The committee recommended that the Labour minister, top managers, board members, and some senior officials at the fund step down within seven days as the Inspectorate of Government and Auditor-General investigate further.

NSSF Saga: MPs insist Amongi must resign

The Committee also recommended that the IGG conducts Life Style audit on the former Managing Director (MD) Richard Byarugaba and the acting MD Ayota Patrick, the Chief Investment officer Gerald Paul, the Chief Commercial Officer Geoffrey Sajjabi, Benoni Katende, Mr Milton Owor, Geoffrey Barigyaya.

The report, presented during plenary sitting on Wednesday, 01 March 2023 added that President Museveni should take keen interest in the conduct of the minister.

During plenary on Thursday, Among stated that justified the irregular directive for the provision of 6 billion shillings from the Fund saying she only performed her duty as a mobilization of more contributors,

“The report is characterized by criminal intent against me and have knowingly prepared a case without presenting evidence against me. Recommending that I resign because I purportedly directed that the 6 bn is sent to my ministry is false and I cannot resign based on that. The letter was not a directive but rather the exercise of Ministerial power under section 29 (3) of the NSSF ACT and the committee agrees with me,” she said.

“I implore the house to have this particular section of the law interpreted by the Attorney General to guide in objective debate, I also implore the house to consider whether there is any evidence on the record of the committee findings indicating that the alleged 6 bn was accessed or used by myself for personal benefits, contrary to any law,” she added.

The minister told parliament that she will not resign but the MPs were not persuaded.

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga said that the minister does not have the power to appropriate funds meant for savers.  

“She is conveniently expanding the interpretation of the NSSF Act. Why did you think you can borrow the word appropriation to use the money for government work? NSSF funds are for private people who are saving their little money for a rainy day,” said Mpuuga. 

Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM, Lwemiyaga County) said: “Parliament must raise to the occasion. The minister said she performed her statutory duties in approving the budget but in her letter, she said that she received a budget proposal of Shs15 billion and she said that that out of Shs15 billion, can I have Shs6 billion for expanding the fund,” said Ssekikubo. 

Hon. Aisha Kabanda (NUP, Butambala District) questioned : ” “Were you going to account for the Shs6 billion with your juniors,” 

Dokolo District Woman Representative, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal urged her counterparts to make a decision based on the Public Finance Management Act which clearly stipulates budget initiation and implementation. 
“There is a difference between originating and implementation. We should be clear on who initiates the budget so that nobody is seen as being victimised,” Cecilia Ogwal said. 

However the Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (General Duties), Hon. Henry Musasizi said Amongi’s request was not approved by the Ministry of Finance. 

“It came to our attention and we notified the minister [Amongi]. We held a meeting with her, gave her our opinion and we were against her request but she went ahead with her request,” Musasizi said. 

NSSF Saga: MPs insist Amongi must resign

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