Workers MPs reject NSSF probe recommendation

Workers’ Members of Parliament (MPs) have rejected a recommendation directing them to refund the 10% contributions from the National Social Fund (NSSF) saying they were not given a fair hearing.

Last week, Mwine Mpaka, the chairperson of Parliament's select committee, which probed the alleged mismanagement of NSSF, presented a report that recommended that the MPs who were part of the 24 board members of the Fund refund the money within seven working days upon adoption of the report or face prosecution.


According to the report, the Fund illegally contributed sh12.4m for Agnes Kunihira, while sh37m was paid to Christopher Werikhe and Stephen Mugole received sh32.7m during their tenure as board members in 2019.

“There exists no employee-employer relationship between the board members and NSSF to warrant such contributions. The committee further notes that such contributions are not provided as a benefit a member of the board is entitled to, under the Board Charter,” the report reads in part.

The MPs' stand

The Workers MPs however, presented their responses during the plenary sitting on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, and demanded that their names be expunged from the report.

Mugole said he was condemned, unheard by the committee and was not invited to substantiate allegations of illegally receiving 10% contributions from NSSF.

“Had the committee invited me as part of according to me a fair hearing, I would have been able to state that I was appointed to the Board of NSSF by the Finance Minister in 2019. The same appointment stated the remunerations as per the board’s terms and engagement,” he said.

He added that in 2011, the board introduced the 10% contribution for all the members who were not public servants and were not above 55 years of age.

“The recommendation that all board members who received and continue to receive the 10% is an illegality was arrived at in contravention of rules of natural justice. Had the committee accorded me that opportunity, they would not have made such a recommendation,” Mugole said.

He added that the recommendation if adopted, is susceptible to be challenged before courts of law on grounds of not according him a fair hearing.

Werikhe said he received an appointment letter from the finance minister on February 4, 2019, that clearly stated the remuneration of the board members.

“I missed the opportunity to be heard. So, I was not able to raise some of the issues,” he said.

Kunihira appealed to MPs to accord them a fair judgement.

Some of the legislators agreed that the accused should have been accorded a fair hearing while others said that the committee’s recommendation should be adopted.

Fox Odoi Oywelowo (West Budama North East, NRM) proposed standing over the debate of the recommendation saying the report is critical and must be preserved.

“According to the law, the accused has to get an invitation to be heard and they must be given time to prepare their defence, but the MPs were not accorded a fair hearing within the ambit of the law,” Odoi Oywelowo said.

However, Asuman Basalirwa (Bugiri Municipality) suggested an amendment stating that adopting the recommendation in the current state will affect the entire report.

“We need to establish whether our colleagues were part of these illegal payments or they were mere beneficiaries. If they were mere beneficiaries, how do we handle that?” Basalirwa said.

Yusuf Mutembuli (Bunyole East) advised against adopting the recommendation saying that the current board appeared before the committee and yet the members accused of the illegality are former board members.

“If you make a recommendation and it is going to affect an individual, you must make sure that individual will be heard. We shall debate all these issues and what happens [when] the matter goes to court and the recommendation will be quashed,” Mutembuli said.

Mwine Mpaka said the aim of the probe was to recover the savers’ funds.

“The current board testified that they received this money and it was illegal. This committee works on behalf of Parliament and if we feel those recommended to refund the money should not, it is entirely up to you,” Mwine Mpaka said.

On January 19, 2023, the House resolved to institute a committee to inquire into the operations of NSSF following reports of corruption and mismanagement of the shillings 17.9 trillion fund.

Source: New Vision