By Hannah Marion Namukasa
Mbarara South Division Member of Parliament, Hon. Mwine Mpaka has been named Chairperson of the select committee to investigate operations and management of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
The other committee members include are Workers’ Representative, Hon. Charles Bakkabulindi, Hon. Karim Masaba (Indep., Industrial Division Mbale City), Hon. Michael Kakembo (NUP, Entebbe Municipality), Hon. Fortunate Nantongo (DP, Kyotera District), Hon. Laura Kanushu (NRM, PWDs) and Hon. Amos Kankunda (NRM, Rwampara County).
The committee was named during plenary sitting chaired by Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa on Wednesday, 25 January 2023.
According to the terms of reference, the committee will examine corporate governance structures at the NSSF, examine circumstances surrounding appointment of the fund’s managing director, evaluate status and safety of savers’ money in the fund and examine the extent of stakeholder engagement in decision making in the fund.
“They are supposed to report back within one month,” Tayebwa said.
The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe however, raised concern over the inclusion of Bakkabulindi saying that as a Workers’ Representative, his membership on the committee would raise issues of conflict of interest.
“Because of that pre-existing relationship with the fund, he would easily influence the outcome of the investigation and therefore, he should not be allowed to participate in the investigations,” said Nambeshe.
The Minister of State for Defence, Hon. Marksons Oboth explained that there are procedures to handle conflict of interest in such cases.
“Conflict of interest is not a crime. If we are to follow that strictly, then nobody would sit in any committee. The conflict of interest would require him to declare that interest. But another argument would be, who is interested in the NSSF than the representative of workers,” said Oboth Oboth.
Tayebwa guided that consultations will be carried out on the same.
On Thursday, 19 January 2023, the House resolved to institute a committee to inquire into the operations of the NSSF following reports of corruption and mismanagement of the Shs17.9 trillion fund.
The controversy revolved around the reappointment of the then Managing Director, Richard Byarugaba who had attained the age of 60 and had already served two terms.
The fund is supervised by both the Finance and Gender Ministries.