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Pension scam at Law Commission

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Some officers at the Law Commission have given themselves two retirement packages contrary to the civil service regulations.

And Auditor General Stephenson Kamphasa said yesterday that it is wrong for a civil servant to get two pensions from the civil service.

Kamphasa warned the officers to refund the money if the findings of our investigations are anything to go by.

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He also said his office will be going to the Commission for audit.

In 2009, government directed that employees at the Commission be on contributory pension scheme, a development which also saw the employees forced to retire first before adopting the new pension scheme.

“Reference is made to your letter No.LC/02/104 OF 26TH August, 2009 to the Chief Secretary and Secretary to the President and Cabinet, regarding the above subject. I am pleased to convey Government approval that the implementation of the Law Commission remuneration be effected from 29th September, 2009,” reads a memo from the Department of Human Resource Management and Development to the Law Commissioner dated October 13 2009.

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The subject of the letter is: Consolidation of Law Commission Remuneration.

And another letter from the same department to the Law Commissioner dated April 16 2010 titled: ‘Consolidation of salaries/ Terminal benefits and Pension Scheme’ reads: “I write to convey approval for the calculation of terminal benefits for employees under the Law Commission to be based on a combination of the basic salary and housing allowance. Government has also approved that employees under the Law Commission should migrate to a Contributory Pension Scheme. Modalities for migrating from Non- Contributory to the Contributory Pension Scheme should be worked out between yourselves and Treasury.”

The letter is written by a D.E Chunga for Secretary for Human Resource Management and Development.

When calculating the second pension in 2009, the employees included the period that was already paid from the time they joined the civil service to 1999.

A typical example is of the Commission’s Controller of Human Resource Management and Development Dina Migochi whose payment voucher shows that she gave herself money for the period already paid for as she calculated the second retirement package.

Accountant General paid Migochi K86 455.85 gratuity on May 16 2001 for the period of 10/11/86 to 23/06/99. This means that she joined the civil service on November 10, 1986 and retired on June 23, 1999 as she joined the Law Commission.

When calculating the second pension, on the form she gives the correct period of service of 10 years and two months but the voucher includes the period from 1986 to 1999 which was already paid.

The voucher shows that she has worked for 22 years instead of 13 years and she receives K23 266,710.00. She was paid through cheque number 315785 and voucher number 030PV4008430.

Going by simple calculation of the pension, she should have received about K10 million meaning that about K13 million has to be refunded.

In her own letter to the Principal Secretary for the Department of Public Service Management dated July 2012 as she reacts to complaints raised by one employee Stanfield Bota, Migochi clearly states that her pension and that of the other employees excluded the period already paid.

“For those staff that were retired, me inclusive, or received ex-gratia payment, they also had to submit the applicable vouchers received with the payment. The qualifying pension period for such staff excluded the period for which they were paid,” wrote Migochi.

Documents we have seen show that others that have received their retirement packages are Janet Banda who was Chief Law Reform Officer and is now Solicitor General. She received K18,488,547. 50 net through cheque number 315776 for the period 1993 to 2009. This means the period from 1993 to about 2000 when she retired first is also included.

Another one is Steven Mijoni, Principal HRMO who received K19,775,345.74 net through cheque number 315800 for the period 1980 to September 2009 meaning that the period from 1980 to 1999 was included.

Chief Accountant Patricia Mwathengere received a net of K21,434,509.40 through cheque number 315833 for the period between 1982 to September 2009. This means that she included period already paid thus from 1982 to 1999.

Senior Personal Secretary Tabu Moleni received K10,381,186.16 through cheque number 315756 for the period 1992 to 2009.

Lovemore Winga who was director of administration and finance then but left received K16,975,221.25 for the period 1993 to 2009.

In an interview yesterday, Migochi said: “As indicated yesterday, the matter in question is in court. As much as I respect the right to information, upon seeking advice from the lawyer who is handling the matter, I have been informed not to comment on anything as the issue is caught by the subjudice rule.”

She was referring to a matter in which another employee at the commission has dragged the authorities to court for not paying him the ‘double’ pension as was the case with the others.

But on Thursday she said on the phone that the anomaly affected many people and the matter was to be resolved by the Accountant General.

But Auditor General described what happened at the Commission as wrong and warned the employees to refund the money.

“That’s very bad. That’s very sad. It’s un-procedural. We will be going there and once confirmed that things happened like that, they will have to refund the money,” said Kamphasa

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