Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekesai Kanhutu-Nzenza has finally tabled the much-awaited National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Forensic Audit Report.
The report is said to be containing various information about the abuse of office by company management, government officials and Ministers.
Minister Nzenza had dragged to table the report which was officially given to her in February this year and it had to take an arm-twisting exercise from Parliament and public drama to compel her to table it.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Minister Nzenza said they have identified a lot of irregularities in the forensic report and that “these issues, Mr Speaker Sir, relate to corporate governance, investments, properties, ICT and human resources. In all these key issues that I have mentioned, there are some significant irregularities.
“In view of that, as Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in the spirit of maintaining transparency, I proceeded to engage a team of legal experts whose role was to provide council on each of the emerging issues from the forensic report,” she said.
Below is what Minister Nzenza said in Parliament during her presentation of the Bill:
Minister Sekai Kanhutu-Nzenza: Mr Speaker Sir, thank you for the opportunity to be able to present to you today the NSSA forensic report.
Mr Speaker Sir, the National Social Security Authority is the statutory body governed by the NSSA Act. It operates social security schemes for the benefit of employees, current or retired on a compulsory basis for the purpose of providing social protection and security upon retirement. The role of the minister, my role and that of the Board and management is to safeguard the interests of the contributors to the Pension Fund. They have a responsibility as provided by the Act to be accountable, transparent and above all, to ensure good corporate governance of NSSA.
The NSSA forensic audit report was commissioned by the Auditor General, Mrs Chiri. It covers the period of 1st January 2015 and the 208th February 2018. The final report, Mr Speaker Sir, was presented to me and the newly constituted board in February 2019. Thereafter, Mr Speaker Sir, the board identified key issues emerging from the NSSA forensic audit.
These issues, Mr Speaker Sir, relate to corporate governance, investments, properties, ICT and human resources. In all these key issues that I have mentioned, there are some significant irregularities. In view of that, as Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in the spirit of maintaining transparency, I proceeded to engage a team of legal experts whose role was to provide council on each of the emerging issues from the forensic report.
Mr Speaker Sir, the engagement of lawyers required a procurement process and due diligence. This process of engaging lawyers took two months, hence the delay in tabling this report. However, the findings of the legal experts will be absolutely material in assisting my Ministry and the board in ensuring that the issues raised in this forensic report are attended to in pursuit of good corporate governance, accountability and transparency.
Mr Speaker Sir, the findings in this report and the annexure here presented will guide us in determining which issues are seen by the legal experts as criminal. What is presented here would also help NSSA to determine issues that are purely management and may require disciplinary action.
Mr Speaker Sir, the Ministry is working closely with the Anti-Corruption Unit. They have the report. Internally I shall ensure that we follow best practices within the labour legislative framework. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare remains absolutely committed to maintaining transparency in protecting the interests of the contributors to the pension fund. The forensic audit report, therefore, provides us with a framework to review the operations of NSSA so that we remain accountable and transparent to the people who have entrusted us with the money.
Mr Speaker Sir, I hereby table the NSSA forensic report as promised. The report is being printed and members will be able to get the copies and the annexures that are bound here in three copies. This report, Mr Speaker Sir, is presented to you in full as requested. Thank you.
Speaker Jacob Mudenda: Thank you, Hon. Minister for your exhaustive summary. I want to believe that Members of Parliament will apply their minds to the report and contribute constructively on the way forward. Thank you.