KUPPET raises alarm over lack of trustees for retirement benefits scheme

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Secretary-General Akelo Misori wants the Treasury ministry to act promptly to protect pensioners’ hard-earned savings

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has decried the prolonged appointment of trustees of the Public Service Superannuation Scheme (PSSS), saying this puts billings of shillings in savings at risk.

The PSSS sees both the government and employees make set contributions for members' retirement. The amount to be paid to a retiree is based on the scheme's credit and investment income, unlike under the earlier plan, where a formula determined the figure.

The contributions are paid into the fund established and regulated by the Retirement Benefits Act.

KUPPET Secretary-General Akelo Misori raised the alarm over the appointment delay in a statement on Sunday, noting that the fund has been operating without a management board for more than three months.

Misori added that all nominating bodies, including trade unions and government agencies, have presented their appointees to the Finance minister as required by law yet the appointments have yet to be made.

The union alleged an attempt to control the amount of money in the PSSS fund.

“KUPPET is well aware that the delay in concluding these appointments has been occasioned by spanners thrown into the process by a cartel of powerbrokers angling to control the multi-billion-shilling PSSS fund,” he claimed.

He added that the delay has resulted in a significant gap in the management of the PSSS, potentially endangering the proper administration of the scheme as mandated by law.

Misori further noted that the absence of trustees puts billions of shillings of pensioners' savings at risk.

“The delay in concluding the appointments has created a vacuum in PSSS management that may jeopardise the scheme’s proper management as set in law," he said.

"For four months now, the fund’s CEO and staff have been left to make important decisions that fall under board leadership. The continued vacuum at the board level leaves billions of shillings of pensioners’ hard-earned savings at risk."

The union urged Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u to promptly take action.

“KUPPET urges the cabinet secretary ... to immediately discharge his legal responsibility by gazetting the PSSS nominees to safeguard pensioners’ funds," Misori said.

"We once again remind the cabinet secretary to be conscious of the suffering our retirees go through to access their pensions. The legal framework of PSSS appointments was carefully crafted to ensure good governance and accountability."

The new scheme covers all civil servants and members of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the National Police Service, prisons, and the National Youth Service.

Its members are expected to contribute at least 7.5 per cent of their monthly basic salary, while the government gives 15 per cent.

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