By Joyce Namutebi & Moses Mulondo
KAMPALA - Parliament has resolved to set up a select committee to investigate the manner in which the recruitment of the managing director and other top officials of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) was carried out.
The decision to set up a probe committee was reached after a submission by Aruu MP Odonga Otto about alleged corruption in NSSF.
Otto alleged that interviews were conducted by the NSSF board and PricewaterhouseCoopers for the position of MD, deputy MD and Corporation Secretary (CS).
He claimed that although Edgar Agaba, was the best candidate for the position of MD, Patrick Ayota for deputy and Richard Wabwire Wejura for the position of CS, these people were not appointed.
The vocal legislator also queried the NSSF management for procuring more shares worth sh69b from Umeme against the advice of the Solicitor General and after Parliament recommended the termination of UMEME’s contract.
He alleged that workers have complained to the IGG about alleged corruption in NSSF, but in vain.
Otto queried the appointment of IGG Justice Irene Mulyagonja’s daughter in NSSF without doing an interview.
The decision to probe the recruitments came after a submission by Aruu MP Odonga Otto about alleged corruption in NSSF.
During debate on the matter, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga warned MPs about making allegations against people who could not go to the House to defend themselves.
It was then agreed to set up a select committee that would give opportunity to the people mentioned to defend themselves.
Speaking to New Vision, Justice Mulyagonga said she had not received any complaint about recruitments in NSSF. She said the recruitment process of NSSF top executives is a work- in-progress.
She explained that board recommends to the minister of finance and it is the minister who appoints. On the UMEME shares, she said: “If Parliament recommended that the franchise be taken away from UMEME, who is supposed to implement it?” she asked.
“This recommendation was taken to Cabinet and I don’t think Cabinet agreed,” Mulyagonja said.
She said her daughter is on temporary appointment with NSSF. “If she was wrongly recruited, they know what to do to have her removed.”
Finance ministry spokesperson Jim Mugunga said: “The Ministry of Finance and indeed the Minister, welcome any efforts geared at enhancing transparency in the activities of NSSF.”
“The minister in particular, and in the face of so much pressure from all sorts of lobbyists, has ensured that openness, competition and transparency prevail in her recent interventions to cause top management changes,” he said.
On the accusation of the lack of action on corruption, he said: “NSSF remains probably the single government entity where investigators across the spectrum of agencies continue to pay lots of attention todate.”
IGG Irene Mulyagonja told New Vision she had not received any complaint about recruitments in NSSF
“It is true that of late and following staff departures and top management changes, there has been an escalation of anonymous allegations which by their nature frustrate investigative efforts. We nevertheless have been resolute in flagging to the authorities worthwhile cases that are brought to our attention.”
It was wrong, he emphasized, for anyone to allege that the minister overrules board decisions.
This, he said, amounts to demeaning the authority and integrity of the entire board. He said the NSSF has its own internal investment protocols that are used to determine when, where and how to invest in order to maximise potential returns for all savers.
But the NSSF board notifies the ministry or Bank of Uganda when impactful investment decisions are being made.
Mugunga added that the ministry and Minister of Finance played no role in recent interviews “apart from guiding that top management posts be filled through an open competitive process under the auspices of an independent competitively recruited reputable agency”.
NSSF’s management, in a statement, said the increased stake in Umeme from 8.1% to 14.27% was done with the Solicitor General’s approval and in conformity with relevant laws.
The management explained that the IGG’s daughter was properly recruited and that “the Fund does not advertise for short-term employee engagements”.
It said recently the services of 17 employees were terminated. Five of these were sacked for fraud and the contracts of a further 12 employees were not renewed after June 30 following the realignment of their roles.
The sacking of the five staff followed investigations by the Police. The 12 employees, whose services were terminated, received disengagement packages.