THE Insurance and Pensions Commissions (Ipec) is in a quandary following revelations it is still to act on a report on the investigations into alleged abuse of pensioners’ funds by life assurance companies, nine months after the inquiry was completed, businessdigest has established.
Report by Gamma Mudarikiri
Finance minister Tendai Biti last year gave a directive to Ipec to investigate alleged abuse and paltry payments of pensions to beneficiaries by life assurance companies and pension funds.
The investigation was completed in August last year but the insurance regulator is still holding onto the report.
This is despite pressure from the Zimbabwe Pensions and Insurance Rights Trust (Zimpirt), which since last year has been lobbying Finance minister Tendai Biti to force Ipec to release the report.
“Ipec has since not released the report on the investigations on the correctness of pensions and insurance values that insurance companies and pension funds are entitling and paying out to pensioners, pension fund members and insurance policyholders, neither to us nor to the minister,” said Zimpirt general manager Martin Tarusenga.
“In its response to us and to the minister Ipec says it is still studying the report. Note that the investigation was completed in August 2012; in other words Ipec is still studying the report nine months later. It is clear to us that Ipec has no intention to disclose this report, which is clearly a public report and in the interests of the public. It is clear that Ipec is not accountable to anyone, and it is apparent that the minister is having difficulties holding Ipec to account, otherwise the minister would be complicit,” added Tarusenga.
Pensioners continue to be paid paltry monthly allowances with some getting as little as US$40 per month.
Tarusenga said Ipec’s recalcitrance in releasing the report was also an indication that its board is controlled by insurance executives, or members who have an interest in hiding the wrongs that insurance companies have for many years perpetrated against pensioners, pension fund members and insurance policyholders.
“It is not unreasonable to assume, indeed claim, that the findings of the investigation report vindicate pensioners’ claims that they were short-changed and that insurance companies, insurance company executives in the Ipec board, and Ipec administration will suppress it to avoid loss of jobs and the damages ensuing” said Tarusenga.
Ipec head of prudential supervision Pupurai Togarepi could not give an immediate comment on the issue, referring all questions to the Commissioner of Insurance, Pensions and Provident Funds, Mannet Mpofu, who however could not be reached for comment by the time of going to print.