Punish NSSF officials, IGG directs
Posted Wednesday, April 30 2014 at 01:00
Charges. The IGG report wants Finance minister to act on two officials for causing a loss of Shs100m to the workers’ Fund.
The Inspector General of Government has asked Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka to reprimand two officials including former National Social Security Fund managing director, Richard Byarugaba, over several deals, where the Fund lost Shs100 million.
However, Mr Byarugaba, who is indicted together with former corporation secretary, David Nambale, accused of misusing his office telephone line, has vowed to “appeal findings” holding him culpable for slip-ups during his three-year tenure.
Mr Byarugaba, who left the position in December last year, after the minister directed that his contract should not be renewed, said yesterday the team investigating the allegations of abuse of office levelled against him and other managers at NSSF sought his audience but “what is reflected in the report needs clarity.”
“As a manager and accounting officer, I always had to make some day-to-day decisions and [we] exercised due diligence all the time,” he said.
“It’s true we sold the land at the same price (Shs650m) we bought it (four years ago), but it is reflected as if I made money out of the deal,” added Mr Byarubaga.
It is alleged that in disregard of professional advice, Mr Byarugaba made the Fund make a fraudulent disposal of a plot of land at Namirembe road.
IGG, Irene Mulyagonja, in the report released on Monday directed Ms Kiwanuka, to immediately enforce sanctions against Mr Byarugaba for neglecting duty and failing to ensure that the ‘highest value possible’ is obtained from the sale of this land.
Justice Mulyagonja, commenced the inquest last year in May following a leaked whistle-blower document, accusing top managers at the Shs4 trillion Fund of mismanaging workers’ savings by flouting laid down procedures and ignoring expert opinion for self-aggrandisement.
Other allegations include improper investment in Umeme shares, bribery and conflict of interest. Also accused was NSSF chairman Mr Ivan Kyayonka and deputy managing director Ms Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa.
However, the findings hold Mr Byarugaba and Mr Nambale, who also left his position, culpable.
Mr Kyayonka was cleared over charges of conflict of interest for presiding over the board that made the decision to buy shares in Umeme.
Mr Nambale who has been directed to refund Shs1.5m, money he used in airtime to call his spouse while on a trip in UK, could not be reached for a comment yesterday.
But Ms Ssali said: “I have been vindicated and exonerated by the findings. I think we can all move on.”
The IGG report made recommendations expected to help streamline the Fund. Key findings and recommendations include. Whereas Mr Nambale, then corporation secretary was entitled to an official telephone line, “it was irrational for the managers at the Fund to have no limit for the amount of money spent on telephones” and as a result he used up to Shs8m on account of telephone charges for one month. The monetary awards to Mr Byarugaba, Ms Ssali and Mr Nambale ordered by the NSSF board should not be paid to them unless they are based on provisions of the NSSF handbook The NSSF management in future should always first seek clearance from the Attorney General before entering into transactions like buying Umeme shares.