By Mary Karugaba
Parliament should be blamed for the financial mismanagement in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), said Reagan Okumu, the chairman of the commissions and statutory enterprises committee.
Okumu noted yesterday that Parliament failed in its oversight role by not reviewing the fundâ€™s audited accounts for the last 16 years.
He said as a result, the NSSF managers took advantage of the situation and â€œdid things with impunity.â€
â€œAlthough there are so many parties to blame for the financial mismanagement of the NSSF funds, Parliament did not pay attention to the recommendations by the Auditor General and take action,â€ Okumu said.
He noted that most of the financial scandals would not have been discovered had it not been for the Temangalo controversy that forced Parliament to investigate the activities of the fund.
â€œAll along, they (NSSF managers) thought they were only answerable to the board, yet the financial regulations mandate Parliament to examine and monitor the usage of public funds,â€ Okumu said.
He observed that the Office of the Auditor General too should have been more critical and point out all the issues.
Auditor General John Muwanga could not be reached for a comment.
Okumu revealed that the committee was under intense pressure from workers and other concerned citizens to handle the audit report on NSSF. â€œWe are now going to suspend the debates on most of the other committee work and concentrate on the audit report.â€
The Auditor General last week submitted to Parliament a special audit report on the financial management of NSSF funds. The audit covered the period from January, 2005 to November 2008.
The investigations revealed that NSSF lost billions in the sale of government bonds and in transactions in shares on the stock market. The report confirms that irregular salary advances, allowances and loans were awarded to NSSF officials and staff in a manner contrary to regulations.