NSSF deputy managing director Geraldine Ssali Busulwa has in the past 3 years been in the news for good, bad and odd reasons.
While several people believe that during these years, she has exhibited some in built perseverance, her biggest undoing has been her endless clashes with her bosses – NSSF MD Richard Byarugaba and the entire board.
At the peak of these NSSF board vs deputy MD battles last year, the board suspended Geraldine Ssali on grounds of indiscipline. In response, she sued NSSF, the board chairman Patrick Byabakama Kabarenge and Byarugaba. The courts later cancelled her suspension and reinstated her in office pending investigations into her alleged insubordination. However, two days after the court order, the security guards at Workers House, blocked her from entering her office forcing her to go to court and sue the Byarugaba and Kaberenge over contempt of a court.
She would later hold a meeting with Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja and some members of the board in which it was resolved that she be reinstated but on condition that she withdraws all the cases against NSSF in the High Court.
Barely a year after this settlement and return to office, Geraldine is on her way out, again.
Well placed sources at the NSSF have revealed to us that her latest dismissal follows recommendations from the NSSF Staff and Corporate Affairs (SACA) report. The SACA report recommended to the board that Geraldine was no longer fit to hold the deputy MD office.
Consequently, 7 out of the 9 NSSF board members sat on September 25th 2017 to among other things review this report and also discuss the possibility of renewing the contracts of NSSF’s 3 statutory appointees – Richard Byarugaba (Managing Director), Geraldine Ssali (Deputy Managing Director) and Richard Wabwire (Corporation Secretary) with the trio’s three years contracts due to expire 30th November 2017, 29th October 2017 and 29th October 2017 respectively.
While the meeting resolved to renewal Byarugaba and Wabwire’s contract, it decided to let Ssali’s contract run out.
Subsequently, in a letter dated September 26th, 2017 addressed to the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija, the NSSF Board Chairman Patrick Byabakama Kabarenge noted that Ssali be allowed to exit from the Fund because her performance over the last three years has not been ‘enough’ to guarantee her stay.
The board also notes that, “her character has been abrasive as evidenced by various caution letters in her file. “
“The relationship between her and her the Managing Director has been disconcerting and not good to the Funds reputation. Various attempts to intermediate between the two offices have come to nothing,” the board said.
Geraldine Ssali speaks out.
In an interview with Chimpreports, a local online newspaper, she dismissed the board’s recommendation as inconsequential. “The board doesn’t make such decisions. It is not the first time the board has made such a pronouncement; but ultimately this is the minister’s decision to make and that is what we should all wait for,” she said.
Geraldine further said that her “performance speaks for itself. I have been way up there.”
“When I was acting (MD); that was the highest statistics we have ever had. We hit the UGX 5 trillion mark (in NSSF assets); we exceeded 13 percent (in customers’ interest); I put UGX 272 billion aside in surplus, and that was the highest ever; I made the highest profit of UGX 850billion for the Fund.”
There are concerns that the current NSSF ACT which allows the minister to appoint the board, the managing director and the Deputy Managing Director creates problems and a potential for frequent clashes.
In fact, sources privy to the infighting attribute Geraldine’s stubbornness to legal gaps that allow the deputy MD to think she is not accountable to the MD.
“The law needs to be revised to allow the board to appoint both the MD and the DMD and thus keep them in check. You cannot effectively supervise someone you did not hire or cannot fire. There is an urgent need to address the administrative gap- because both MD and DMD are appointed by Finance Minister, the DMD finds it convenient to disrespect the board and MD. This needs to be addressed,” an insider that asked for anonymity noted.
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