FFTUZ slams retirees’ benefits plunder

IT is absurd for the board of directors of the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) to hold many meetings within a short time in order to pay themselves huge sums of money, the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) has said.

Last year the PSPF board of directors held a total of 71 meetings which gobbled K2.5 million in sitting allowances, unretired imprest and duty allowances.

FFTUZ national executive secretary, Lyson Mando, said in a press statement that the alleged abuse of retirees’ benefits demanded for an immediate explanation from management.

He said such allegations were serious and called for immediate explanations from the PSPF managing director and board chairperson.

This follows confirmation from PSPF board chairperson Moses Banda that the Fund was under probe by State agencies for the alleged plunder of K2.5 million through hefty sittings and other payment claims.

“It’s really sad to hear that the board of directors of PSPF has plundered money which would have benefited some pensioners who are dying of hunger.

“It is so incredible to imagine that in 52 weeks, the board of directors can have 71 board meetings and pay themselves monies amounting to K2.5 million. We demand an explanation because they cannot afford to remain silent over these serious allegations,” Mr. Mando said. He also demanded for the removal of all board members if the allegations turned out to be true. Mr. Mando expressed disappointment with some trade unionists appointed to represent workers’ interest on the PSPF board who took part in the alleged plunder of retirees’ benefits.

He suggested that such individuals must be exposed to avoid similar occurrences in the future.

“If workers were represented on the board, then it implies that those who claimed to have been representing their interest were irresponsible. We are interested to know the names of such individuals because it is embarrassing to imagine that they took part in the plunder,” he said.

Mr Banda confirmed that the PSPF was under probe for the alleged plunder of K2.5 million.

“The issues raised concerning the number of board meetings as well as expenses at PSPF, as given to the newspaper by disgruntled and frustrated former employees, are not appearing on public domain for the first time and the PSPF board is aware of these attempts to alarm the retirees about their benefits. These issues were peddled on online media last year and are being investigated by relevant Government security wings,” Mr. Banda said.

But Patriotic Front (PF) labour and social security chairperson and member of the central committee Joyce Nonde-Simukoko warned that the ruling party would not condone those behind the plunder of workers’ benefits and has called for a thorough investigation of the people involved in the scam.

“It is unprecedented that a board can meet 71 times in 11 months to discuss what? As PF we shall not tolerate plunder of worker’s benefits; we therefore demand thorough investigations of this corporate theft,” Ms. Simukoko said.

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