Pension fraud exposed

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 10:27:39 +0000


Some unscrupulous Pension funds have stolen Billions of Kwacha funds entrusted to their custody leaving pensioners and their dependents destitute.

And now Government has been petitioned to immediately set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the multibillion fraud.

The Government has been urged to investigate private pension funds management and amend the Pension and Insurance Authority Act to include sanctions and penalties for companies and individuals who have been involved in pension mismanagement and fraud.

Retirees have demanded that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security should immediately review the functions of the Pension and Insurance Authority Act to make it more responsive to the needs of pensioners who did not have the resources to challenge the privileged position that pension funds enjoyed.

In a petition submitted to Minister of Labour Joyce Nonde-Simukoko for consideration by  President Edgar Lungu at a function held at Nakatindi Hall presided over by the  labour commissioner Chanda Kaziya petitioners protested the willy nilly manner  in which pension affairs were being conducted in the country.

Mr Kaziya, who described the petition as rational and mature, promised the retirees that the minister would deliver it to President Lungu as soon as possible.

Petition spokesman  Expendito Chipalo said the commission of inquiry should establish the office of pension ombudsman with the authority of a court to resolve pension disputes as the civil courts had failed to handle pension matters through what he termed incompetence and lack of knowledge of pension laws and practice.

He said the inquiry should also establish the correct benefits due to each of the affected pensioners and order their payment without reverting to the courts of law as well as establish an authority to conduct forensic audit of all private pensions.

Mr Chipalo, who is among the complainants involved in the BP pension appeal, said the inquiry should recommend remedial measures, sanctions and penalties against all individuals and companies that would be found wanting.

He said the inquiry should consider amending the Pension and Insurance Authority Act to enforce the inclusion of employee representatives on the boards of trustees and further present any criminal activities in relation to mismanagement, misapplication or any other fraudulent activities that may have violated the PIA and Income Tax Acts for prosecution.

“The commission of inquiry should have the mandate to amend the Pension and Insurance Authority (PIA) Act to institute penalties on any individuals and companies that abrogate their fiduciary responsibilities. At the moment some pension fund administrators and managers are busy testifying against pension fund members in matters before the courts contrary to their fiduciary responsibilities to the members.

“It should amend any other relevant proposals that will enhance the transparency of pension managements and protect the interest of the pensioners,” Mr Chipalo submitted in a petition. He added that the inquiry should establish a special court to resolve all pension matters pending before the Zambian judiciary within a specific period and recommend actions against fund managements that were not compliant with the PIA Act and establish the reasons why the PIA had allowed non-compliant schemes to remain in operation.

Mr Chipalo said corrective measures should include transfer of non-compliant schemes to those that were compliant.

He demanded that the inquiry should investigate the law related to the actuarial practice in Zambia to make it possible for foreign based actuaries to be registered before they could be allowed to practice in Zambia and examine means and ways of recovering stolen pension funds from the scheme sponsors, fund managers and directors of companies that were involved in pension frauds.


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