NSSF set to recover over UGX160 billion from employers

By Patricia Osman

The National Social Security Fund is seeking to recover over 160 billion shillings following announcement of a grace period of 3 months for all employers that have not remitted employees ‘social security contributions to agree a payment plan.

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba says in exchange, the Fund will waive up to 95% of the penalty amount owed.

10,839 out of more than 33,270 employers registered with the Fund have not paid NSSF contributions in a period ranging from 2 months up to 7 years thereby denying their employees social security protection.

Mr. Byarugaba said that although it is the obligation of every employer to pay social security contributions for their employees on a timely basis and in correct amounts, the Fund recognizes that for various reasons, some employers may be unable to remit funds on a regular basis. Eventually, they get overwhelmed by the arrears and penalties levied on unremitted funds.

“Therefore for the next 90 days, we have declared an Amnesty for all defaulting employers to allow them negotiate payment plans with the Fund. In turn, I will waive up to 95% of the penalty the defaulting employer is supposed to pay. This is on condition that such an employer comes forward, commits to clear all the arrears owed in a period to be agreed by signing a Deed of Settlement,” Byarugaba said.

Section 14 (2) of the NSSF Act empowers the Managing Director to waive “whole or part of any penalty subject to such conditions as he or she may determine.”

He added that using a similar approach, the Fund has already recovered about Ushs 13.7 billion since July 2017 from 380 employers who came forward and signed Deeds of Settlement.

Mr. Byarugaba said that employers that do not take advantage of the Amnesty window risk court action to recover the arrears, the penalty and interest accrued.

“Litigation is our last resort. We prefer to have discussions with employers as per our Relationship Management business model, because we understand that sometimes, businesses face challenges with their cash flows. However, employers that not only categorically default but are also unwilling to agree payment plans with the Fund will be taken to court,” he said.
Information available from the Fund indicates that 174 employers have been arraigned before courts of law and over Ushs 17.8 billion has been recovered in the process.
Byarugaba added that beyond paying for their employees’ social security, employers should know that remitting NSSF is good for their business.

“Companies that do business with the government, many other government agencies and even in the private sector are required to present clearance certificates confirming that they are NSSF compliant. We also know that employers who pay social security contributions easily attract and retain the best employees. It is therefore a good business decision for employers to pay NSSF contributions,” he said.

As at end of December 2018, the Fund was worth Ushs 10.2 trillion up from Ushs 8.7 trillion in December 2017. Monthly average contributions are now at over Ushs 96 billion.

Five Equity Bank Uganda employers sent jail for laundering over 4 billion

By Sania Babirye

Anti corruption judge Margret Tibulya has sentenced  five Equity bank  Uganda employers to Luzira prison after they were found guilty of laundering   4.6 billion shillings from their employer.

Abubakar  Karungi has been sentenced to 12 years,   David Sserwamba  and Matthew Keeya have been  each handed a 10 year jail sentence while  Reagan Okoth and Sharfic Mubarrack have each been sentenced to 5 years.

These were were convicted of conspiring to  Embezzle the 4.6 billion shillings from Equity Bank  between March and May 2015.

The judge has however declined to give a custodial sentence to Isaac Serwamba  a young brother to David Sserwamba on grounds that he joined the crime at its  end because he was used to hide part of the  250 million.

He  was  cautioned  against committing any illegal activity.

Justice Tibulya explained  that she reached her conviction on  grounds that  Prosecution had proved that the convicts converted,  and transferred the said money with  an intention  of disguising it’s illicit origin yet it was stolen from Equity Bank.

Justice Tibulya has also ordered the DPP to  oversee the selling process of  the recovered vehicles and Land tittles belonging to the convicts so that the proceeds are added to the 250 million shillings and be given back to Equity Bank.

The convicts  have also been ordered to   compensate Equity bank in the notes of 20, 250 and 500 dollars respectively.