Maria Kiwanuka, Ivan Kyayonka Liable for NSSF Mess - Committee

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In short
National Social Security Fund (NSSF) invested up to Shs 70 billion to acquire 131 million shares during the Initial Public Offer purchase in UMEME making it the third largest institutional investor in the utility company, controlling 14.27% shares.

A parliament select committee instituted last year to investigate alleged mismanagement in the National Social Security Fund- NSSF wants former Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka held liable for causing financial loss to the fund during the recruitment process of senior managers and purchase of shares in electricity distributor, UMEME.

The committee chaired by Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja was tasked to investigate the controversial purchase of shares in UMEME, allegations of nepotism and unfairness in the recruitment of staff and the irregular disposal of the fund's assets.

National Social Security Fund (NSSF) invested up to Shs 70 billion to acquire 131 million shares during the Initial Public Offer purchase in UMEME making it the third largest institutional investor in the utility company, controlling 14.27% shares.

However, the purchase was contested on grounds that the shares were acquired against the advice of the Solicitor General.  The committee established that Ivan Kyayonka, the NSSF Board Chairman flouted investment procedures when he sanctioned the acquisition without the board's involvement and approval from the Solicitor General.

The investigations of the Committee discovered that Kyayonka was in a rush to purchase UMEME shares because the proceeds would go to the independent thermal power producers (IPP), the suppliers to UMEME, who would then pass on the money to Shell, where Kyayonka was a director.

Ann Maria Nankabirwa, the acting Committee Chairperson explains that for this anomaly, the committee wants Kyayonka dismissed.

//Cue In: The committee observed…
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Disciplinary action was also recommended for Richard Byarugaba and Geraldine Ssali for their role in sanctioning the purchase of shares without the board's approval.
 
//Cue In: The committee was…
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The same committee wants Kiwanuka held liable for causing financial loss to the fund by disregarding outcomes of the interview process conducted by the NSSF board and PriceWaterHouseCoopers to fill the positions of Managing Director (MD), Deputy Managing Director (DMD) and Corporation Secretary (CS). 

As a result, Edgar Agaba, the best candidate for the position of MD, Patrick Ayota for Deputy MD and Richard Wabwire Wejura, the best candidate for the position of CS were not appointed. Instead the old team led by Richard Byarugaba was reinstated. PriceWaterHouseCoopers was paid Shs 500 million for the search.

The report however exonerated the Inspector General of Government, Irene Mulyagonya, for having a hand in the appointment of her daughter, Elizabeth Kakooza as marketing officer on a three-month contract.

The MPs instead recommended that the Deputy Managing Director, Geraldine Ssali and head of Human Resource, Catherine Byakika be reprimanded for flouting the recruitment guidelines by handpicking Kakooza from the database without subjecting her to normal recruitment principles.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.