The Inspector General of Government has recommended sanctions against the former Managing Director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Richard Byarugaba for neglecting his duty and disregarding professional advice, a result of which the fund lost billions of shillings in fraudulent transactions.
The recommendation is embedded in a-11 page report of the IGG investigations into National Social Security Fund and several top managers over allegations of fraud and corruption involving 24 deals.
The investigation was launched last year after the Inspectorate of government received a complaint from concerned citizens alleging massive corruption and abuse of office at the fund.
In one of the controversial transactions cited, NSSF made a fraudulent disposal of its land on Block 4 Plot 434 at Namirembe road in Kampala.
The land in question was sold at UGX 650 million, the same value at which it was purchased in 2008. According to the IG report, an argument that the land was surrounded by land owned by the eventual buyer, Malibu Holdings Ltd turned out to be false because the land had access to a road for over 40 years before the sale.
The report states that “The managers of NSSF did not make sufficient efforts to establish whether or not the land had access to a private or public road. Instead Efforts by the Board of directors to stay the sale pending resolution of the issue of access were passed over by the accounting officer, Richard Byarugaba who hurriedly made an offer to Malibu holdings for the sale of the land, it further reads.
The IG concludes that the disposal of the Namirembe land was mismanaged by NSSF and influenced by seemingly predetermined interests. She says the disposal process for the said land was commenced before the board authorized the disposal.
The report further adds that Richard Bayarugaba, the then Managing Director of NSSF illegally sought for a waiver from PPDA to dispose off the land through direct negotiations without a request for use of the method by the contracts committee. By so doing, he usurped the powers of the contracts committee, the report adds.
IGG Irene Mulyagonja in the reported dated April 28 recommends that the Minister of Finance planning and economic development should enforce appropriate sanctions against Byarugaba, for neglecting his duty and failing to ensure that the highest value possible is obtained for the sale of the land.
However, the IG failed to find substance in allegations that NSSF erred in investing in UMEME’s initial public offer for shares on the Uganda securities exchange. The whistle blower had argued that NSSF made a decision to Invest in UMEME shares without the approval of the full board and without obtaining advice from the attorney general.
But IG investigations established that the NSSF investment policy of 2011 allows participation in IPO’s as a permissible investment, within specified limits which were not exceeded in this case. The IG further states that the decision to invest in the UMEME IPO was in the interest of the fund and eventually paid off generating funds to a tune of UGX 1.9 billion in dividends.