Kole North MP raises concern on delayed payments of benefits of the former employees of defunct East African Community

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Kole North MP raises concern on the delayed payments of benefits of the former employees of the defunct East African Community.

During the Wednesday plenary, the MP for Kole North, Dr Samuel Opio Acuti moved the matter of delayed payments of the benefits of the former employees of the defunct East Africa Community.

In his pressing submission, he indicated that parliament in April 2023 had adopted the various recommendations of the report of the parliamentary committee on East Africa Community Affairs on the delayed payments of the former workers.

The Ministry of East African affairs was required to report back within 1 month which elapsed in May.

However almost 6 months later no action taken report has been provided on the floor of parliament.

“Rt Hon Speaker, payment delayed is payment denied,” said the Kole North MP. “Many of these beneficiaries have died since the adoption of the report, isn’t it procedurally right that an action taken report be provided by the Minister as per rule 220 of our rules of procedure.” He further added.

In April 2023, parliament adopted the report of the parliamentary committee on East African Community affairs that investigated the issues surrounding the 44 year delay in settling the benefits of the formers employees.

In its finding and observations the committee noted that the payments of the former employees was incomplete and had been affected by the ghost pension scheme where many employees never received their benefits despite parliament appropriating billions of shillings for their payments.

Other employees hadn’t received their payments due to their missing files or missing names while some had been underpaid by Ministry of public services using a different formulae which lowered their pay out and without consideration of other benefits provided for in their terms of service when the East Africa Community collapsed in 1977.

The committee noted that a mediation agreement was signed between the then three heads of state of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in 1984, a document which vested the payments of the formers employees to each state and further provided for Crown Agents, a firm which was the managing their funds to transfer the pension and provident funds to the government of each country. The committee noted during its visit in Kenya that the Kenyan beneficiaries had been settled and money received from Crown Agents.

The committee recommended that Ministry of East Africa Community Affairs carries out a verification exercise across every district in the country to establish the total number of eligible beneficiaries to be paid, compute their benefits in line with the formulae applied in the East Africa Community regulations, pay out the scope of benefits stipulated within the same regulations and the East Africa Community Mediation agreement within two financial years.It also guided that where files were missing,they be reconstructed using available information.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Thomas Tayebwa who presided over the house raised concerns on the delayed payments noting that funds were returned back by the Ministry of East Africa Community affairs to the consolidated fund because there were no beneficiaries to be paid. He directed the clerk of parliament to extract all the recommendations of the report and avail to the Minister to urgently respond.