…K2.5 million spent in 71 Pension Fund board meetings in 2015
WORKERS at the Public Service Pensions Fund (PSPF) have exposed a money making racket in which the board of directors are plundering retirees’ benefits with 2015 alone recording the syphoning of K2.5 million through frequent hefty sitting allowances, imprest and duty allowances among many other payments in unclear circumstances, it has been revealed.
Some board members and senior management officials have been cited as the major culprits in the plunder of retirees benefits.
Between January 2015 and November 2015, the PSPF board members held 71 board meetings in which more than K2.5 million was paid off to the board of directors in what it termed sitting allowances for extraordinary and administrative staff meetings, extraordinary board meetings, and ordinary board meetings as well as imprest and fuel allowances.
According to documents obtained by the Daily Nation, the fund has been spending between K28, 000 and K56,000 on board members per sitting and the board of directors could in some instances hold eight board meetings in one month. According to the documents, in January 2015 the PSPF board of directors attended eight board meetings for which a total of K291,200 was spent while in the month of February of the same year, another eight board meetings were held and more than K300,000 was gobbled.
In the month of March 2015, nine board meetings were held with each sitting gobbling an average of K30,000 and the trend continued for entire year leading to more than K2.5 million being spent on sitting allowances.
Employees at PSPF have since written a letter of complaint to the Office of the President -Special Division statistically tabulating the plunder of the fund and have mentioned some of the board members allegedly engaged in the scam.
Some senior executive officers are also alleged to have been abusing the authority of their offices and that a named employee in June 2015 paid himself more than K9,000 in hotel bills, imprest for shoes, out-of-pocket allowance and kilometre allowance including a suit, shirt and tie which were purported to have been bought to attend the International Trade Fair in Ndola.
It has also been revealed that senior officials of the fund in connivance with some board of directors fraudulently caused the transfer of the fund operations account from one bank to another as well as the account used to pay monthly pensions to retirees and other lump sum benefits.
The changes, it has been revealed, were allegedly made without the approval of the board.
Labour and Social Services Minister Fackson Shamenda, when contacted said the PSPF did not fall under his ministry but that it was under Cabinet Office.
Efforts to get a comment from PSPF chief executive officer Mr Richard Mwiinga failed as he was reportedly in China and his mobile phone went unanswered.