Richard Byarugaba, the former managing director of the National Social Security Fund-NSSF, has filed a petition in the High Court to invalidate the appointment of his successor, Patrick Ayota. Byarugaba’s argument is that Ayota’s appointment as Managing Director (MD), stated in the August 18th, 2023 letter, should be voided due to his ineligibility for the position.
According to Byarugaba, Ayota’s appointment was made while he held the substantive statutory position of Deputy MD on a fixed five-year term, which rendered him ineligible for the MD role. Additionally, Byarugaba is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent Ayota from acting as the MD of the fund. Alternatively, he is requesting the court to allow him to amend his previously filed petition, which challenges the government’s decision not to renew his contract.
Byarugaba argues that these new developments were introduced to undermine his application, as they arose after he filed his judicial review application and are now being used as a defense against his case. He contends that these developments are unlawful and contravene the principles of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Act as amended. He further states that granting the requested amendments will not prejudice the respondents, the Attorney General, and Minister for Gender, Labor, and Social Development, Betty Amongi.
The case is scheduled for a hearing on September 27, 2023, before Justice Musa Ssekaana. In August 2023, Byarugaba filed a petition against the Attorney General and Amongi, seeking court orders for Amongi to fulfill her statutory duties and complete his reappointment as the NSSF MD, as recommended by the Board and required by the law.
Byarugaba served as the NSSF MD since August 1, 2010, and his second appointment, which began on November 29, 2017, expired on November 30, 2022. He argues that Amongi attempted to prematurely end his second contract by stating that he should have retired upon reaching 60 years of age, but only with the intervention of the Attorney General was he able to complete his second term of office.
The NSSF Board of Directors had recommended renewing the contracts of both Byarugaba and his deputy Patrick Ayota. However, Amongi renewed only the contract of the Deputy MD and deferred Byarugaba’s appointment, citing various allegations, including financial impropriety, collusion with contractors, defiance of presidential directives, and corruption.
Despite stakeholders meeting at State House on December 6, 2022, and receiving guidance from President Yoweri Museveni to conclude Byarugaba’s appointment process, Amongi did not follow the guidance. Byarugaba argues that this, along with ignoring the February 2023 report of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the state of affairs at NSSF where he was cleared of financial impropriety allegations, makes the decision not to renew his contract illegal, irrational, and procedurally incorrect.
According to Byarugaba, the decision also disregarded the Inspector General of Government’s report, which cleared him of allegations and supported the Board’s recommendation based on his previous performance in office.
Records indicate that NSSF, under Byarugaba’s and his Deputy’s leadership, currently has 2,000,000 members and assets worth 17 trillion Shillings. Based on this performance, Byarugaba is seeking to have the decision not to renew his contract set aside.