Parliamentary probe rules out financial loss on select NSSF projects

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The Parliament select committee investigating the mismanagement of the National Social Security Fund has dismissed allegations of financial loss on select investment projects in their report tabled in Parliament on 2nd March 2023.

These projects include the investment in MTN, Quality Chemicals, construction of Mbuya Citadel apartments and the Fund’s land in Mbarara.

Regarding the investment in MTN and Quality Chemicals , the committee observed that the Fund’s participation in equity purchase in both companies was in conformity with the Capital Markets Authority(CMA) and Uganda Security Exchange (USE) rules. CMA and USE are responsible for stock exchange in Uganda.

In addition, the report noted that both transactions were duly approved according to the Fund’s investment approval process, and no commissions were given to NSSF staff in the transaction.

The Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development , Betty Amongi Ongom who is responsible for the supervision of the Fund since January 2022, had earlier made corruption allegations in the purchase of shares in both companies.

She however failed to provide evidence in support of her claims to the Parliamentary select committee during the two weeks probe into the mismanagement of the Fund.

NSSF is the second largest institutional shareholder in MTN Uganda with an 8.84% shareholding. It earned an initial shs 9.8 billion profit on the investment in 2021.

The select committee report also observed that there was no exchange of money in form of kickbacks during the construction of the Fund’s housing project located in Mbuya.

The project dubbed The Citadel Place is a modern contemporary housing project in Mbuya – an upscale Kampala suburb and comprises of 40 high-end apartments.

Regarding the Fund’s land in Mbarara, the report noted that there was no exchange of money for the sale of the land as earlier alleged by the Gender Minister.

On the purchase of land in Nakigala, it was noted that no money was approved for the purchase of the said land and that it hasn’t been purchased yet due to numerous claims of ownership on the land that require lengthy due diligence and approval processes.

It was earlier alleged that the Fund had provisioned for shs400bn for the purchase of land in Nakigala and yet the supervising Minister had obtained a lower evaluation of the same land at shs246million only.

While appearing before the select committee, NSSF management also clarified that the amount was provisioned as total budget estimates for all strategic land purchases for the FY 2022/23 to purchase two land assets and that the amount wasn’t entirely for Nakigala as alleged by the Minister.

The Select Committee was chaired by Hon Mwine Mpaka who is the Member of Parliament for Mbarara City South. Other members of the committee include Workers MP Hon Charles Bakkabulindi, Mr. Karim Masaba (Industrial Division, Mbale City), Mr. Michael Kakembo (Entebbe Municipality), Ms. Fortunate Nantongo (Kyotera District Woman), Ms. Laura Kanushu (Persons with Disabilities), and Mr. Amos Kankunda (Rwampara County).

Parliament is expected to debate on the report of the select committee on the affairs of NSSF next week.

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