Refund sh2.6 or face jail, IGG tells former NSSF Chief


Kampala, Uganda I HABARI DAILY I In a significant move towards combating climate change and promoting environmental sustainability, Absa Bank Uganda has entered into a 3-year partnership with the Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) to plant up to 1 million trees in the city.

According to a newly released report says Byarugaba and Stevens Mwanje, the head of finance, were specifically implicated in making irregular payments to staff members who exited the fund through the voluntary early retirement program, leading to a loss of over Sh4.4 billion.

It henceforth called upon Byarugaba and Mwanje to refund the amount in equal installments. .

The investigation, which began earlier this year, looked into allegations of mismanagement, abuse of office, and corruption involving Byarugaba, NSSF board members, and other high-ranking officials.

The 61-page summary report revealed that Byarugaba is required to repay various sums of money, primarily relating to irregular payments made to NSSF staff members who voluntarily left their positions, as well as payments to resigning board members.

“There were tangible irregular payments made to officials for trips they did not fully cover, as they spent fewer days than what was allotted in their per diems,” reads part of the report.

The investigation also discovered irregular payments of Sh687,257,226 to Fred Bamwesigye and Julius Bahemuka, who had resigned from the NSSF Board to make way for the appointment of female board members. The report stated that such compensation was not provided for by law, making the payments irregular, and held Byarugaba and Mwanje responsible for these arbitrary payments.

While Byarugaba was cleared of allegations of using the budget to divert funds from the NSSF through excessive spending on foreign trips, he was instructed to refund over Sh16.5 million for trips where he spent fewer days than what had been paid for. Other officials were also ordered to reimburse a total of over 25.9 million shillings for similar reasons.

Inspector General of Government (IGG), Betty Kamya, emphasized that Byarugaba and Mwanje are obligated to repay the Sh2.6 billion and any other amounts mentioned in the report.

“Failure to comply with the refund could result in prosecution,” she warned. Although the IGG grants implicated public officers 60 to 90 days to refund the money after the investigation report is completed, a specific timeline for Byarugaba has not yet been determined.

Byarugaba was cleared of some allegations, including abuse of office and corruption. However, the report recommended suspending ongoing procedures related to the acquisition of land at Nakigalala until ownership disputes are resolved.

It also highlighted irregularities in the payment of member benefits and recommended administrative measures to improve the fund’s management, such as adopting a frugal approach and reducing expenses.

Betty Amongi, the Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development was advised to submit the NSSF Act’s Section 35(1) to Parliament for amendment.

“The computation of members’ interests should be based on the closing balance to ensure accurate and fair calculations aligning with the fund’s financial performance throughout the year, as per our recommendations,” further reads the report.

The investigations into the NSSF by the parliament and IGG originated from allegations of corruption and mishandling of the Sh17.9 trillion fund, as well as controversies surrounding the reappointment of Richard Byarugaba as the managing director.

Although he [Byarugaba] had reached the mandatory retirement age of 60 years, the NSSF board recommended his reappointment, citing the fund’s growth and balance sheet size. However, Amongi postponed the reappointment, raising concerns of corruption, collusion with contractors, and other allegations

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