Pension funds dismiss corruption accusations

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Pension funds in local authorities and in the catering industry have strongly denied allegations of abuse of funds contained in a recent report to authorities.

Staff Writer.

In his report, Comarton Consultants Group managing director Richard Muirimi alleged that in-house pension funds were abusing funds for the purchase of information technology (IT) systems meant to improve internal management.

A story which this paper published last month based on Muirimi’s document said that the catering industry was one of the country’s worst-performing funds and that it did not go to tender for its IT system, but appointed a South African-based vendor, which has failed IT systems.

However, the catering industry has since denied the allegations and has written a letter to Muirimi threatening legal action against him.

Catering Industry Pension Fund chairman Muchadeyi Masunda also wrote to this paper denying the claims that they are the country’s worst-performing fund which has been abusing funds.

In the letter, Masunda said: “Statements made in the document are completely false in fact and were intentionally made to harm the reputation and dignity of the fund’s management and the reputation of the fund as a business.”

Part of Muirimi’s claims in the document read: “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.”

Contacted for comment on Wednesday this week, Muirimi refused to comment, referring the matter to his lawyer Kuhuni who also refused to comment, saying the matter was before the courts.

However, last month Muirimi angrily told this paper after publication of the story that the document he had prepared was not meant for the media or for public consumption as he had been asked by the state to prepare it. He said he could not refuse a state instruction.

Among others, the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) also denied allegations that they appointed a South African vendor to provide the IT system without going to tender.

In a letter written to this paper by their lawyers, Sawyer and Mkushi, LAPF said: “The article Pension funds abuse client’s contributions referred to a report which was prepared by Comarton Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, the contents in the article are false in that our client went to full tender and all procedures were followed,” read the letter.

“It portrayed our client’s management as corrupt and inefficient, which is not the case.”

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