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Economy

Auditor-General alarmed by 13 acting executives at NSSF

From left: NSSF acting Registration and
From left: NSSF acting Registration and Collections manager Evans Ombui, acting general manager Corporate Affairs Austin Ouko, acting manager Finance Moses Cheseto, acting CEO Anthony Omerikwa, and manager Property Development Peter Muiruri. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE 

Auditor-General Edward Ouko has raised the alarm over more than three quarters of top executives of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) including its chief executive.

Mr Ouko said that 13 of the 17 top managers have been acting for years, shining the spotlight on the board of the fund.

Anthony Omerikwa has been acting as NSSF chief executive for 44 months, way beyond the average CEO’s term of three years.

“No reasons have been provided for the continuous holding of senior management positions in an acting position,” said Mr Ouko.

“Among the top management there are 13 including the CEO who have been serving in an acting capacity for more than four years without confirmation.” That so many senior managers who practically are the fund’s engine could be acting officials for an indefinite period has raised questions.

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Human resource best practice demands that acting heads serve for at most six months during which time the appointing body should drive a competitive recruitment process.

Some of the acting managers include Evans Ombui (Registration and Collections), Austin Ouko (Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary), and Moses Cheseto (Finance).

NSSF, which has for years witnessed high CEO turnover, has seen calm in the corner office over the last five years.

The fund had 10 chief executives in the seven years to 2015, underlining the office as one of the most volatile in corporate Kenya. The bulk of the exits were tied to graft, which dogged the NSSF for years.

The funds’ financial performance has also improved in recent years.

NSSF increased interest payable on retirement savings to seven per cent for the year ended June 2017 on the back of a sharp rise in net investment income. The return is a rise from the six per cent posted in 2016 and three per cent it paid on savings in the year to June 2015, marking a rise for the three years in a row.

This was helped by the rise in net investment income to Sh20.4 billion in the year to June 2017, from Sh1 billion a year earlier, aided by dividends from firms where the fund has stakes as well as trading in shares and bonds at the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

NSSF’s net assets grew 14.2 per cent in the period to Sh196.5 billion, from Sh1172 billion a year earlier, making it Kenya’s largest pension scheme.

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