Speaker of parliament, Anita Among has named a seven-member select committee chaired by Mbarara South MP, Mwine Mpaka to investigate alleged mismanagement at National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Other committee members include Mbale City Industrial Division MP Karim Masaba, Entebbe Municipality MP Micheal Kakembo, Kyotera Woman MP Fortunate Nantongo, Workers MP Charles Bakkambulindi, Rwampara County MP Amos Kankunda and Laura Kanushu, the National Woman representative for People with Disabilities.
According to the terms of reference, the committee is expected to examine corporate governance structures at NSSF, examine circumstances surrounding the appointment of the managing director, evaluate the status and safety of savers' money, examine the extent of stakeholder engagement in decision making and inquire into any other matters incidental thereto.
Deputy speaker of parliament Thomas Tayebwa presented the names of the select committee members during plenary on Wednesday afternoon. Last week, parliament resolved to name a select committee to investigate the affairs of NSSF following a statement by the minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Betty Amongi on the emerging issues at the fund.
The speaker directed the minister to present the statement amidst corruption allegations at the fund stemming from her letter, questioning the reappointment of the former managing director Richard Byarugaba when his contract expired at the end of November 2022. The NSSF board led by Dr Peter Kimbowa endorsed Byarugaba’s reappointment for another five-year term. As a result, prime minister Robinah Nabbanja asked Amongi to proceed with the appointment “as recommended by the board to avoid any managerial gaps, which can put the workers’ funds at risk."
Amongi protested the move and instead called for an investigation into the conduct of the former MD while at the fund. She accused him of among others; abuse of office and mismanagement of investments. She directed that investigations be conducted within two months in line with a resolution by the board of directors.
In her statement to parliament, Amongi said that members’ funds are safe and invested in fixed assets, equities, and real estate. She said that although President Yoweri Museveni and the NSSF board had recommended the re-appointment of Byarugaba and his deputy Patrick Ayota, a number of petitions had been presented to several authorities including the president, PM, coordinator of Operations Wealth Creation (OWC), Inspector General of Government (IGG) and herself.
Amongi said that the petitions resulted in several stakeholder meetings including what she refers to in a letter dated December 7, 2022, addressed to the NSSF board chairperson which prompted the board to refer issues raised to IGG for investigations.
The minister said that investigations that required a forensic audit were referred to the auditor general and those bordering on impropriety, abuse of office, or corruption were referred to the inspectorate of government, with a request that their findings be shared within 60 days. Asked about the NSSF investigations, IGG Olive Beti Kamya said they are yet to conclude inquiries into the matter.
"We're investigating it [NSSF] right now, yes...You will soon know what is going on. We have just started. You know when a big investigation like that one comes, it is not like tomorrow I walk into NSSF. I understand the dynamics of the case, I pool resources, I have a plan we discuss it, a work plan that will be effected. So a lot of work happens in the kitchen before the actual knocking on the door of the managing director of NSSF but we have started," said Kamya.
Amongi also explained to parliament why she, together, with the NSSF board met the coordinator of OWC, also President Museveni's brother Gen Salim Saleh regarding the operations of the fund.
“Suffice to clarify that the meeting I refer to, of the board’s visit to meet Gen Salim Saleh in Kapeeka on 6th December 2022 had the intention of establishing how a private industrial park with a big number of workers can inform strategies for the fund to enroll these as members and contributors of NSSF as well as other strategic issues in line with the mandate of the fund,” the minister explained.