Nssf: Kamya Speaks Out On Byarugaba

Nssf: kamya speaks out on byarugaba
Appeared in Daily Monitoron 07 Feb 2023

The Inspector General of Government (IGG) has said Mr Richard Byarugaba will at a convenient time be sounded out over the allegations that continue to swirl over his spell at the helm of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Ombudsman Beti Kamya told a media briefing yesterday that Mr Byarugaba has not been engaged because “we don’t always begin by inviting the main suspect.”

“In fact, in most cases, investigations go on for a long time before the main suspect even knows that they are being investigated,” she said, adding, “Sometimes, we may not even invite the suspect. We could even dismiss the case for lack of merit.”

Last week while appearing before Parliament’s Select Committee, which is currently probing the NSSF saga, Mr Byarugaba raised a concern about why the IGG had not yet summoned him amid all the accusations that had been thrown at him. The allegations, he mentioned, at one point, had broken him into tears.

The ombudsman revealed yesterday that professional investigation requires meticulous preparations. The process, she further revealed, includes development of informers’ list, use of undercover agents, physical and electrical surveillance. There is also gathering and analysing of data, laboratory analysis of evidence, making predictions, doing background checks, and drawing conclusions before finally interrogating the suspect.

“Investigations inherently have a strong element of surprise and confidentiality and that is why investigators operate underground and never in the media otherwise the quality of results could be compromised or influenced by too much exposure,” she said.

She added: “Suspects or interested parties can tamper with possible witnesses through coaching, intimidation, coercion, or even bribery so by the time investigators summon a suspect, we have all the information needed, but, we have to speak to the suspect because of the principle of the right to be heard.”

Ms Kamya said her team expects to conclude the probe into the goings-on at NSSF within a timeframe of two months before reporting their findings to Parliament as required by law.

When Mr Byarugaba’s contract expired on December 1, 2022, his deputy, Mr Patrick Ayota, was named the acting managing director and substantive deputy for the next five years.

At the time, the two were both past the mandatory NSSF retirement age of 60. They, however, all showed a willingness to continue overseeing the Shs17 trillion workers’ Fund.

The Gender, Labour and Social Development ministry overseen by Ms Betty Amongi declined to renew Mr Byarugaba’s contract following allegations of mismanagement of the workers’ fund, claims she directed the IGG to look into.

The Labour ministry is in charge of supervision and operational matters at the Fund. Meeting the House Select Committee last week, Mr Byarugaba said this “dual supervision” slows down the decision-making process at the Fund.