By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The family of former Soroti County Member of Parliament Peter Omolo has accused the parliamentary pension scheme of lacking transparency on the pension money that the legislator had saved with it.
Established by the Parliamentary Pensions Act 2007, the scheme is a contributory hybrid cash balance retirement benefit plan for the Members of Parliament and staff of the Parliamentary Commission. Under the scheme, each legislator makes a 10 per cent contribution as a saving every month. The government also contributes 30 per cent which is collectively given to the MP or the nominated family members when he/she leaves the office or dies.
Records indicate that Omolo was saving 5,031,000 Shillings for his pension every month. This included 1,677,000 as the contribution from his salary and the government contribution of 3,354,000 Shillings. As at the end of December 2015, Omolo had 253.8 million Shillings saved with the parliament pension scheme, according to the financial statement given to the MP by the scheme on 19 January 2016.
This is the money that the family of the late peter Omolo is struggling to access, more than two years after his death. Omolo died on June 22, 2017, after serving two terms as a Member of Parliament. He left fifteen children, two widows and his mother.
The family members claim the scheme leadership has failed to avail them with financial statements to show the flow of finances from his account. Sylvia Omolo Kyomuhendo, one of the daughters to the deceased said that she started chasing for the money in October 2017, three months after the death of their father. But the parliament pension scheme leaders told her to present a death certificate, letters of administration and the family account.
But they did not have letters of administration. However, that suggested to the scheme officials that they could use the list of beneficiaries that the former MP had filed with the scheme to release the money. The suggestion was rejected.
A few weeks later, an employee of the scheme called her, saying there was another way they could get the money – organize family members to go to parliament, meet the scheme leaders and have their money released.
Kyomuhendo said that when some family members showed up for the meeting in February this year, they signed a paper where they appended their accounts and were given some money which totalled to 27.5 million Shillings. Fourteen of the children were paid 1.5 million Shillings each, the widows received 2 million Shillings each while the mother received 2.5 million Shillings.
But Kyomuhendo refused to take the money without financial statement and indication of how much the father had left. She said the scheme leadership just decided how much to give without divulging the details of account adding that much of the money was not released.
Although some of the family members signed for the money, they were equally dissatisfied with what was given to them.
Emmanuel Omara, the son to the late and one of those who received the money said that after the first amount, the scheme has been sending 70,000 Shillings on his account and upgraded it to 80,000 Shillings last month.
However, Nightingale Mirembe Senoga, the Chief Operations Manager of the scheme, rejected claims they were hiding information and/or corrupt. She said if anyone has a question on Omolo’s file, they should go there and be allowed to access it.
Some of the children say they have frequented parliament several times and they have been denied that information. Pian County MP Remigio Achia leads the scheme’s board.