New Pension company pledges to focus on SMEs

By Deo Wasswa
The Africa’s leading Pension administrator, Enewealth Financial Services Limited has expanded its operations to Uganda after being licensed by Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA).

Enwealth, Currently Manages Pension assets worth over Ush2 trillion and servicing over 120 clients within the region. Over the last 8 years, Enwealth has been providing innovative products and services through which more than 40,000 people in 12 countries in Africa have been impacted.

Speaking during the launch at Sheraton hotel-Kampala. Nelson Kuria, the Enwealth board chair, they joined Uganda after realizing that the pension industry in Uganda is growing steadily under as strong regulatory regime. ‘’ We have keenly observed the pension industry in Uganda growing steadily under a strong regulatory regime, we are therefore excited to introduce innovative, ICT driven retirement products and services in Uganda such as post retirement healthcare funds for a dignified retirement life, Diaspora and expatriates fund, Enwealth Person pension scheme among others’’, said Nelson.

The firm joins nine other pension administrators that are currently licensed by URBRA as a result of the ongoing reform agenda to liberalize the sector.

According to URBRA, the pension sector covers only about two million of Uganda’s population which is less than 10 percent of the population. The pension sector is currently contributing more than nine percent to the country’s GDP, and is projected to contribute a higher share in the near future. According to the regulator the sector’s portfolio is now growing with NSSF recording shs9 trillion in much 2018 from ush3 trillion at inception and other schemes are holding nearly ush1.6 trillion.

At the same event, Simon Wafuba, the Enwealth CEO, revealed that Enwealth’s key target market in Uganda will be the small and medium enterprises which are currently under served. The SMEs employ over 2.5 million people. But due to low income levels and luck of access to information, majority of them do not have adequate savings fir their retirement. Enwealth has tailor-made products for this market as well as financial literacy programs to encourage the population to save and secure their financial security in interment.

‘’We see a very vibrant, robust and well regulated sector with increased coverage and asset portfolio,. With more players joining the market, we will see products suited for the markets that have not had access to retirement benefits before. We are also adopting to modern supervisory tools to ensure that people’s savings are secured, Said Mr. Martin Nsubuga, the CEO Uganda retirement benefits regulatory authority(URBRA).

Notably, the 2016 World Bank development indicators report noted that Ugandans save around five percent of their monthly earnings. This was the lowest record in comparison to other countries in the east Africa whose records stood at 23 percent for Kenya, 13 percent for Tanzania and 18 percent for Rwanda.

Additionally, Enwealth will provide well researched information on issues affecting financial services, social security and employee benefits in Uganda through their regular research based report and debate dubbed Enwealth conversations.

With the expansion to Uganda, Enwealth joins a number of other financial services sector players including banks and insurance companies seeking to establish solid presence across all the markets in East Africa.

City Lawyer involved in pension scam released on cash bond

City lawyer Bob Kasango has regained temporary freedom after the Anti-Corruption Court released him on a cash bail of 50 million Shillings. His two sureties were each bonded at a non cash bond of 100 million Shillings.

Kasango was remanded to Luzira prison on Wednesday for allegedly conspiring to forge a judicial document in order to steal over 15.4 billion Shillings pension cash.

Court decided to remand him on the request of the prosecution that needed more time to scrutinize his bail application given that colossal sums are involved. Besides, one of his sureties did not have an introductory letter from his Local Council.

Also released on bail is his alleged accomplice Milton Mutegeya, a court clerk on a cash bail of 5 million Shillings with his three sureties being bonded at 20 million Shillings each.

The prosecution had asked the court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Peter James Lochomin to put stringent bail terms of 3billion Shillings. Court however downplayed the request.

Prosecution alleges that Kasango and Mutegeya, during the month of June 2012, forged a certificate of taxation dated June 20, 2012 purporting that it was issued by the Deputy Registrar of the Civil Division of the High Court. The document certified that the pensioners bill of costs had been taxed and allowed at 7.8 billion Shillings whereas not.

Prosecution further accuses Kasango and Mutegeya of conspiring to forge a certificate of order against the government, dated June 22, 2012 purporting that it was issued by the Deputy Registrar directing the Attorney General to make a further payment of 3.9 billion Shillings  as taxed costs in the pensioners case whereas not.

In the scam, up to 15.4 billion Shillings was paid to a non-existent law firm; Hall and Partners to cover the cost of defending government in a case filed by over 6000 civil servants, challenging their retrenchment in 1992. The retrenched employees sought a court order to be paid pension and general damages.

Kasango however forged the court documents to access payments which would otherwise have gone to John Matovu, the lawyer who was involved in the pensioner’s case since 1998.

Last year in June, Kasango appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) and accused the then High Court Deputy Registrar, now a High Court Judge John Eudes Keitirima of asking for a bribe of 500 million Shillings in exchange for signing and processing his documents for payment.

But the committee led by Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso, did not take Kasango’s wild allegations, saying they were not backed by evidence. Kasango said his evidence was his word.

The pensioners’ High Court case had been handled by another lawyer; John Matovu but he engaged Kasango whom he referred to as ‘Mr Fixer’ to quickly get him the money saying he had connections in government. Matovu feared that he was associated with the opposition and this would take longer for him to get the money for pensioners.

Lawyer Matovu, who also appeared before PAC in its inquest to find answers on what happened to the billions of pension cash, accused his fellow lawyer Kasango of getting money but not paying him that is why he opened up a case against him before the Commercial Court.

Matovu said that they signed an agreement on 1st August 2011 in which Kasango was supposed to collect fees worth 12% of the total pension recovery totaling 28 billion Shillings. Of this, 9% was to go to Matovu, 1% to Kasango and 2% to third parties. The pensioners were supposed to get 4.5million shillings each.