As the parliamentary inquiry into alleged corruption at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) gathers pace, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka on Thursday faced hard time on the floor of the House as she laboured to explain the delayed recruitment of the NSSF managing director.
The MPs dismissed her statement to the House and described it as “shallow”. Trouble started after the minister told Parliament that the two interviews conducted by the Fund’s board and private consultants were “aisory” and that she was still consulting widely before pronouncing herself on the NSSF’s new managing director (MD), deputy MD and the corporation secretary in accordance with the NSSF Act.
“The recruitment process is being handled in a competitive and transparent manner,” Ms Kiwanuka said. “I am consulting widely, including the highest level and the recruitment process is in the final stages,” she added.
The minister’s statement to Parliament, however, did not capture the disputed procurement of Umeme shares with Shs69 billion, the alleged recruitment of the IGG’s daughter, Ms Elizabeth Nabakooza, and a disputed land deal worth Shs750 million. This angered legislators, led by Workers MP Sam Lyomoki and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Wafula Oguttu, who reminded the Speaker that the House had already taken a decision that a Select Committee investigates the alleged corruption at the Fund.
“This matter was clearly concluded and we expect the minister to take her shallow statement to the select committee. She is avoiding a lot of issues we raised on the floor of Parliament, including where the board chairman, Mr Ivan Kyayonka, connived with her. This is diversionary,” Mr Lyomoki said.
In a statement this week, Mr Kyayonka, the NSSF board chairman, denied any wrongdoing. The board adopted the recommendations by PriceWaterHouseCoopers and approved the appointment of Mr Edgar Gerald Agaba as the Fund’s new managing director, Mr Patrick Ayota as deputy managing director and Mr Richard Wabwire as the corporation secretary.
The NSSF management insists that the decision to invest in Umeme, despite the short window period for completing the investment, was approved by the board in consultation with the Finance minister as provided for under Section 30 of the NSSF Act, before the investment was executed.After realising that members had refused to debate the minister’s statement, the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, ruled that a select committee will be set up and given one month to investigate the alleged corruption at NSSF.
Meanwhile the National Organisation of Trade Unions (Notu) on Thursday asked the House to get off the affairs of the workers’ pension fund, calling the decision to investigate the alleged mismanagement as “poisonous cheap politicking” and gave Ms Kiwanuka two weeks to announce the appointment of NSSF’s top managers.
The Notu secretary general, Mr Peter Werikhe, told journalists in Kampala that the MPs pushing for the reversal of recent recruitment of NSSF’s top bosses were in bed with sinister forces —lobbyists and aggrieved candidates to further their interests. However, none of the MPs is pushing for the reversal. Instead the MPs have unanimously demanded that those who passed the two interviews be given the jobs to head the NSSF.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor