NSSF Whistle-blower Saga: Ssali Now Fighting Byarugaba?

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is grappling with whistle-blower reports to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) which officials warned could delay implementation of critical multi-billion shilling construction projects.

Plans are underway to construct another phase of the NSSF Pension Towers in Kampala, viagra approved a project stalled by government investigations.

The more NSSF delays to start work on the multi-billion shilling projects, the higher the costs of materials such as steel, cement and labour.

NSSF Board Chairman Mr Patrick Kaberenge recently said the Fund will invest Ushs 578Bn in the Ugandan real estate market by close of this calendar year.

This, he said, would have a direct impact on Uganda’s economy by significantly reducing on the housing deficit.

“As Board members, one of our key objectives on the agenda is to ensure that we implement a number of real estate projects that had stalled,” Kaberenge said, adding that the Board has within 6 months of assuming office, approved a number of the real estate projects valued at over Ushs 578 Billion.

New twist

A source at the office of the IGG told ChimpReports on Sunday that it had received a report from the whistle-blower alleging that NSSF’S Managing Director had hiked the “bill for the construction of the pension Towers from Shs 181bn to Shs 227bn, a 50 percent increase in the price.”

The whistle-blower said the adjustment was meant for Byarugaba’s “personal gain as well as that of his brokers.”

Byarugaba was not readily available for comment but officials at NSSF said investment decisions are taken by the Fund’s Investments Committee.

“NSSF has a procurement and investments body that guides its decisions,” said a source.

The second phase consists of construction of three towers. The first and second towers will each have 10 storeys while the third tower will have 25 storeys, making Pension Towers the tallest building in Kampala.

The building has been redesigned twice, leading to increased costs.

At the IGG’s office, investigators said the Inspectorate was now being used to “fight personal wars” hence delaying key projects.

“This dossier smirks of malice. These people are alleging that the Deputy Managing Director Geraldine Ssali is being fought out of her office because she has insisted on the justification for the 50 percent in the price which amounts to Shs 115.5 billion. The dossiers creates an impression that Ssali’s friends are now fighting Byarugaba,” said a top investigator at the IGG’s office.

“We have made hundreds of investigations at that Fund but you will always find people fighting because of huge egos and fulfilling personal interests,” the source, who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely, added.

In the dossier to the IGG, the whistle-blower linked Byarugaba to former Presidential Candidate Amama Mbabazi, saying the NSSF boss ordered that funds be channelled to the Go Forward camp through New Vision Managing Director Robert Kabushenga.

It was further alleged that Byarugaba handed Finance Minister Matia Kasaija Shs 250m for MP campaigns.

A source at NSSF said this was part of a wider strategy laid by Ssali’s colleagues to humiliate Byarugaba by encouraging investigative bodies to put him under a probe.

Previous investigations have seen NSSF bosses forced out of office and jailed.

Ssali, who did not immediately respond to our request for comment, recently returned to office on orders of the High Court. NSSF Management had moved to investigate her conduct at work.

Over the last five years, the Fund has increased its assets from shs1.7 trillion in the financial year 2010/11 to Shs6.25 trillion today.

Up to about Shs4.6 trillion of the Fund is currently held in fixed income securities.

The Fund recently bought a 2.4 percent stake worth $45.7 million at Equity Bank from London-based Helios EB Investors and intends to commit billions of shillings into property investments.

The other projects under the Fund’s Real Estate Investments portfolio include a 2,741 unit estate high end housing project Lubowa, Kampala, and a 5,000-unit affordable residential housing estate in Wakiso.


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