IGG makes U-Turn, clears all charges against ex-NSSF boss Byarugaba in Shs5b saga
The former managing director of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Mr Richard Byarugaba has been cleared of the charges relating to the illegal approval of Shs5 billion payment to two board members and staff who retired voluntarily.
This was confirmed by the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, after several months of probe into the ex-NSSF boss over the alleged misappropriation of the said funds.
IGG Kamya, who had earlier this year ordered Mr Byarugaba and the NSSF chief financial officer Mr Henry Mwanje to refund the money, has now made a U-turn and asked the Fund to go ahead and use the directors’ and officers’ liability insurance policy to recover the money within six months.
According to her letter dated September 20 addressed to the NSSF Board, Ms Kamya revealed that since Byarugaba became an ex-officio member of the Fund’s board of directors by operation of the law, upon amendment of the NSSF Act in 2022, whatever he was implementing was in accordance with the board’s decisions.
“Richard Byarugaba implemented the two board decisions as a principal signatory to the Fund together with the CFO, Mwanje, by authorising payment of a total of Shs5.08 billion as compensation to two board members that exited and staff who retired from NSSF under the voluntary retirement scheme,” the IGG said in the letter.
“It is, therefore, reasonable to say that both Byarugaba and Mwanje, were implementing decisions of the board. The board, on their part, were driven by the need to operationalise an amendment of the NSSF Act of 2022 and the consultant’s (Deloitte and Touche) recommendation to downsize the staff levels for improved performance,” she added.
Ms Kamya’s decision followed an appeal by Mr Byarugaba who, in a July 13 letter, said he was innocent.
Speaking of the new development from Kamya’s office, Hon Mwine Mpaka (Mbarara South), who chaired the parliamentary probe committee scrutinising the NSSF’s anomalies said that they asked for substantial evidence from the Labour Minister Betty Amongi and she failed to adduce them, hence sending the case to the IG for further investigation
“We asked the Minister of Gender to provide substantive evidence backing her allegations against Byarugaba and she failed to provide them. That’s why we referred this case to the IGG and DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) for further investigation.”
Mr Byarugaba has welcomed the decision by the IGG to render him a free man saying it will serve as additional evidence in the court case.
“I am very happy and excited that I have been vindicated. I only did that in my official capacity [and] this demonstrates that the cases against me were to frame me and deny me my job,” he said.
Byarugaba opened legal proceedings against Minister Amongi on August 09 at the High Court in Kampala, suggesting that his axing was “malicious, based on known bias against him.”
Byarugaba had been appointed on November 29, 2017, to lead the Fund for 5 years with the term ending November 30, 2022.