Lawmakers who have been appointed to investigate allegations of corruption at the National Social Security Fund yesterday promised to “leave no stone unturned” while carrying out their assignment.
A five-member Select Committee named by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was yesterday instructed to probe the allegations of nepotism and unfair recruitment at NSSF; illegal purchase of Umeme shares; irregular disposal of the NSSF assets and any other matter related to the mismanagement.
Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, who chaired the House yesterday, read out Ms Kadaga’s letter dated July 17, appointing former Masaka District LCV chairperson, now Kalungu East MP, Mr Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja (independent) to chair the NSSF probe.
Mr Ssempijja will be assisted by Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu (DP); Ann Maria Nankabirwa (NRM, Kyankwanzi Woman); Alex Ruhunda (NRM, Fort portal Municipality) and Theopista Nabulya Ssentongo (Workers rep.).
“We are grateful to the Speaker for trusting us and we are going to take on the challenge. We are going to execute the assignment with zeal and professionalism,” Mr Alex Ruhunda said. “In our investigations into the operations of NSSF, we are going to ensure that there is justice…”
The Speaker’s instructions are for the investigation to commence immediately. The committee is expected to convene during the course of the week to draw up a programme of action.
Ms Nankabirwa, who was on the House Select Committee which investigated allegations of corruption in the energy sector last year, told Daily Monitor that they were ready for the assignment. She will be remembered for her probing skills during the energy sector inquiry which ended with the committee recommending termination of Umeme’s contract, citing several irregularities in the concession.
While other MPs led by Kibanda MP, Mr Sam Otada questioned Ms Kadaga’s decision to constitute a committee that lacked a lawyer, Mr Oulanyah reminded him that his hands were tied since the Speaker’s directive had been put in writing.
Mr Otada said issues at NSSF were “grave and controversial” and therefore, having a probe team without a lawyer would be risking too much. “This is an order put in writing by the Speaker, I cannot undo what the Speaker did,” Mr Oulanyah said.
Mr Otada however, promised to follow-up the matter with the Speaker who was reported out of the country.
The Speaker’s decision to set up a select committee was informed by the resolution of Parliament two weeks ago after Aruu MP, Mr Odongo Otto, tabled a motion alleging, among other issues, that the fund managers had irregularly bought shares in Umeme, that the Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja, helped her daughter, Elizabeth Nabakooza, to get a job at the NSSF without going through formal interviews.
NSSF to cooperate
In a statement released yesterday, NSSF said it will cooperate with the inquiry, which now joins a list of previous House probes into the affairs of the multi-trillion shilling Fund. This fund is entrusted with the safe-keeping and judicious investment of savings belonging to more than 400,000 private sector workers.
The Fund has suffered decades of internal strife with almost all its managing directors being forced out under corruption allegations, with some of them either being found at fault or still remain in court.
Former Finance minister Ezra Suruma also lost his job following a House probe into what came to be known as the Temangalo scandal in which the Fund bought land belonging to Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and associates for more than Shs11 billion.