By NATION REPORTER
AUDITED financial reports for Saturnia Regna Pension Fund were on Friday queried by delegates during the virtual annual general meeting but Benefits Consulting Services chief executive officer, who manage the fund, Bryson Hamanzuka described as minor observations “which have already been addressed, did not affect the authenticity of the audited records.”
However, a delegate who spoke to the Daily Nation expressed shock and consternation at a number of issues, including failure to disclose the content of the Forensic audit commissioned by Government, which audit had remained secret.
They also complained of high fees for related companies managing the fund namely, African Life Financial Services and Benefits Consulting Services Fund Administrator pegged at K15, 182, 568 and Fund Manager’s fees of K42, 932, 909 respectively.
They also questioned the exorbitant fees of K550, 000 charged by the auditing firm Price Waterhouse. The fee has since been reduced to K520, 000 after complaints.
Mr Hamanzuka said the fees were competitive and in line with the services they provided.
However, the delegates felt that the fees were high and also wanted a rotation of auditors, considering that Price Waterhouse has been auditing the fund in virtual perpetuity.
But Mr. Hamanzuka said the AGM voted in favour of the firm and the fees paid to them.
“What was surprising and shocking was the fact that the forensic audit commissioned by the government was not discussed in any detail. We were informed that the matters were administrative and that the Board had dealt with them.” one of the delegates said.
“We expected transparency in detailing the issues in the forensic audit which has not been the case. What is there to hide?” he asked.
They queried claims by the chairperson that the issues were mostly administrative and that they were closed by the board. Members want to know what issues were raised in the forensic audit ordered by the Ministry of Finance.
Delegates were also surprised by a statement that Saturnia had not been sanctioned for investing in offshore accounts without Government authority when in reality the Fund was fined K2.37 million for externalising US$40 million without authorisation.
“This is common knowledge, just as it is common knowledge that there are contentious issues regarding properties held by the Trust which should have been transferred, instead we were told that only three properties had a name change. What has happened to the 51 properties that were under the Trust?”
Meanwhile the meeting was informed that a new Trust Deed and Scheme Rules would be circulated to all participating schemes.
There were many issues, he said that delegates wanted information on, including the fact that there were differences between management accounts and Pensions and Insurance Authority Quarter 1 2017 returns.
Some delegates also protested delays in delivery of Annual Benefit Statements and queried when the final rate of nine percent for the year ended December 31, 2018 would be applied to members’ accounts.
And the Pensions and Insurance Authority has launched investigations into matters raised by members.
PIA Communications Manager Doreen Silungwe said they have taken interest in the matter.
Ms. Silungwe however said that the PIA has not yet received any complaints from the pension scheme members emanating from the meeting. She said that PIA had given licensed entities including Saturnia to file audited financial statements for the financial year ending December 31, 2020, by tomorrow (March 31, 2021).