For weeks, media reports have been suggesting that all is not well with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). NSSF has been grabbing headlines following scandals of corruption and mismanagement of funds.
On Thursday, the ongoing saga at NSSF took yet another turn, when the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among selected a committee to investigate the claims of corruption and mismanagement at the Fund.
“Under Rule of Procedure 190, I am referring this matter to a Select Committee and we shall have able people who can never be compromised to handle this matter. I will announce the names of the five people on Monday,” Speaker Among said.
The decision was made in Parliament during a sitting that was chaired by Speaker Anita Among. According to the Speaker, the investigation will restore hope in the public.
“I do not want to say that it is cursed money. But that money of workers? I grew up knowing that whoever goes for workers’ money goes to Prison. So many people are rotting in prison because of workers’ money and it is our responsibility as Parliament to restore hope in the public,” Among said.
In the sitting, the Minister for Gender, Betty Amongi was grilled on claims that she piled pressure on NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba to give her Shs 6bn for her activities to promote the Fund.
Minister Among was also questioned by the legislators on why she defied a presidential directive and the board of directors on the reappointment of Byarugaba as Managing Director of the NSSF.
Byarugaba’s contract expired at the end of November last year and the board endorsed him for reappointment for another five-year term, based on endorsement and a presidential directive for reappointment, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja asked Minister Betty Amongi to proceed with the appointment as recommended by the board.
Minister Amongi reappointed Byarugaba’s Deputy Patrick Ayota and deferred Byarugaba, saying she needed to conduct more consultations.
Minister Amongi wrote to the NSSF saying she had received petitions from whistleblowers and ordered fresh investigations into claims of corruption at the Fund.
In defence, Minister Amongi said that she wanted Shs 6bn set aside within the NSSF’s budget to mobilize various associations, industrial parks and diaspora to contribute to the Fund. Among said out of the 17 million workers, only 1.5 million save with NSSF.
“Those that required a forensic audit were accordingly referred to the Auditor General,” she said, adding that those bordering on impropriety, abuse of office or corruption to the Inspectorate of Government, with a request that their findings be shared within 60 days”.