Pension funds abuse clients’ contributions

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Top executives at in-house pension funds for the local authorities, mining, motor, local authorities and catering industries have been abusing funds for the purchase of information technology (IT) systems meant to improve internal management, prejudicing thousands of pensioners in the process, Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Hazel Ndebele

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Documents prepared by Comarton Consultants Pvt Ltd, a registered fund administrator with the Insurance and Pensions Commission of Zimbabwe, show that the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF), which has been struggling to pay out pensions, appointed a South African vendor to provide the IT system without going to tender.

LAPF, according to its website, has 11 689 pensioners and 20 363 contributor members. It administers pension funds for municipalities, rural district councils and town councils.

“LAPF did not go to tender two-and-a-half years ago, but merely did casual enquiries to the local vendors and then went on to appoint a South African vendor who has failed to deliver and the fund is now threatening court action,” reads the document dated August 4 2015.

Comarton group managing director Richard Muirimi said in the document that LAPF is fleecing the country of the much-needed foreign currency that it does not have and yet boosting the South African trade balance.

“One of the more important problems is that of national security, all these SA systems are backed up in a cloud over the USA meaning that the country’s data and earnings in each of these industries is at real risk of being read,” reads the document.

“Whoever is appointed locally ensures we do not export the currency and that it circulates within. I am suggesting for the reason outlined that as far as possible local vendors be appointed to benefit the country, reduce cash outflow, reduce corruption, improve our security and improve local development capacity.”

According to the document, Heritage Insurance Company lost US$500 000 after paying for an Indian developed system which was never commissioned. The vendor was in the country for two months in a bid to implement the system and the insurance company catered for hotel bills during the stay which never materialised as the job was not done.

“The vendor requested to go back home (India) for some urgent matter and they cannot trace him but national resources have been taken out,” the document says.

One of the country’s worst performing funds according to Comarton, the Catering Industry Pension Fund, also did not go to tender for its IT system but appointed a South African based vendor, which has failed IT systems in the country.

The document states that the managers misuse funds for their self-enrichment.

“What we are seeing is that the catering industry management tends to be happy with these structures as they take money out and have their own individual accounts credited,” it says.

At the Mining Industry and Construction Industry Pension Funds, local vendors for IT systems are being systematically pushed aside to cater for foreign owned companies.

10 thoughts on “Pension funds abuse clients’ contributions”

  1. CGV says:

    This is the same Muvirimi of Comarton who are managing the Fintrust Pension Fund (RBZ and subsidiaries pension fund) who gave me $2600 after working for the Reserve Bank for 12 years as final payment with no monthly pension who is claiming to be a corporate governance guru.

  2. S.E.N says:

    at the same time employees have gone through a torrid time of salary and allowances cut, no bonus, increment for almost 4 years, no incentive no what in the name of -the economy is not performing but at the same time the CIPF (CATERING INDUSTRY) management is busking in glory with a highest paid management of all, leading the lowest paid staff of all as well.They have nice cars, phones, flats , houses unspeakable allowances all done in the name of an exagerrated or biased management benefits policy…………its not easy working the whole month and paid 3 weeks salary………..what will become of our children our future……..please God help . CORNCERNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    1. Chaputika says:

      Why don’t you look for work somewhere where you can be rewarded accordingly. Going to
      papers will not give you that extra salary. I hope your management will be more sympathetic and give you a big booooot.

  3. Pensioner says:

    Your Comarton Pension system is substandard and your co business is not Application development.

  4. Prince Shumba says:

    This Comarton Group’s invocation of ‘National security’ and ‘Exporting currency’ makes it out to be an insincere party with the ulterior motive of causing a ‘Ban’ from Government on these external service providers, so that it can be awarded the contracts.
    It is hard to believe that the data will be more secure on local servers as opposed to USA based ones, and it is also hard to see how such data can pause a threat to National Security.

  5. Pensioner says:

    Mr. Muirimi’s system cannot work for defined benefit pension funds like LAPF. Thorough research has proved that Mr. Muirimi’s system lacks critical pension fund functionalities which makes it substandard and falls short of most pension funds’ requirements. I doubt if his organization carries out research and development to ensure that his system is up-to-date with technology trends. It seems Mr. Muirimi is unaware of processes that pension funds he has mentioned follow when acquiring and implementing IT systems. There are always tender adverts for pension fund IT systems in local newspapers. Pension funds cannot implement substandard systems in the name of supporting the local industry. Mr. Muirimi should develop competitive systems if he wants to win tenders. Using newspapers to win tenders will not work for his organization. As a consultant Mr. Muirimi should do better than what he is saying in the article.

  6. NOT HAPPY says:

    the managements are abusing the buildings for their benefits, they are leasing the properties to their wifes and children names so the pensioners wont suspect anything.they had acquired so much wealth at the expense of the fund.God save us

  7. shaba Mukono says:

    Comarton system are below market expectations and it seems Mr Muvirimi is trying to force pension funds to buy his useless system by blackmailing them. No amount of blackmail will win him support. He is preaching a wrong gospel. He is not a computer person to understand what pensions management system are all about. He should concentrate on his failing fund. Leave LAPF alone…..

  8. Chaputika says:

    Can this old man Muvirimi be serious and understand that his system is total disaster that no sane person would even contemplate having it. Instead of working the outside vendors to enrich himself, he thinking and selfishly advocating for himself.

    He has no proof of what he is parroting. Each Fund has different rules, he should understand that throwing mud at the said pension funds can change anything as they are ably run by competent Boards of trustees. He is paying peanuts at his Comaton Pension Fund. He should be man enough to tell the country what they are paying.

  9. Chikwama says:

    surprisingly, interestingly and most of all shockingly, people who abused the aforementioned pension funds are walking scot free in a country full of law enforcement agents such as the police, CID Serious Fraud, etc

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