KAMPALA – The Director Audit – Auditor General’s Office, Joseph Kirya has told the Select Committee investigating allegations of mismanagement at the National Social Security Fund – NSSF that the fund’s bosses failed to address the recurrent query on suspense accounts.
Kirya in the company of other officers escorted the Auditor General, John Muwanga in appearing before the Mwine Mpaka led committee on February 3.
In his report, the Auditor General indicated that NSSF reported unallocated members’ contributions of Ugx38.2b in 2020, Ugx45b in 2021 and Ugx57b in 2022. Kirya blamed this situation on NSSF’s failure to follow up with employers who submit payments without the list of employees.
“When employers pay – they are supposed to send a list of beneficiaries. But what we have observed over the years is that companies would pay without accompanying lists and funds cannot be allocated and it is put in the suspense accounts,” noted Kirya.
He said that despite repeated reminders to NSSF to address the challenge, figures on unallocated funds continue to grow.
His submission was prompted by a question from the Committee chair Mwine Mpaka who sought clarification on the steps that the Auditor General had taken to address the complaints on suspense accounts.
“We have received several complaints from savers on suspense accounts and the Auditor General seems not to be aware of the issue,” said Mwine Mpaka.
Amos Kankunda – Rwampara County MP tasked the Auditor General to investigate and find out if NSSF had a system to safeguard funds in the suspense accounts.
Meanwhile, the Assistant Auditor General in charge of audit services, Edward Akol revealed that an audit into the fund’s investment income uncovered avoidable expenditures totalling to Ugx300m and $293,000.
He said that Ugx323m was paid in the Lubowa Real Estate investment to undertake procurement of contractors and yet the fund had a fully-fledged procurement and disposal unit.
He added that $173,000 and $120,000 was paid to contractors as compensation claims relating to renewal of performance and advance guarantees as a result of delayed issuance of instructions for project commencements.
“This was spent by the fund which in my opinion could have been avoided with better planning. I advised management to recover these amounts and make further checks on the already paid items,” he noted.
Charles Bakkabulindi – the Workers’ representative raised concern over the avoidable and over expenditures – saying it affected the savers’ interests.
“We have been hearing from the media and the fund’s management that workers’ money is safe and yet you are talking about over payments and avoidable payments; should we still trust that the money is safe,” asked Bakkabulindi.
On January 19 2023, the House resolved to institute an inquiry into the operations of NSSF following reports of corruption and mismanagement of the Ugx17.9trn fund. The inquiry – in its initial stages has unearthed overwhelming discoveries leading into the direction of corruption.