Former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) Managing Director Geraldine Ssali has written to the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija seeking to be given a fair assessment of her appraisal after she lost her job. Ssali disputes the circumstances in which her contract was terminated as having been based on her person rather than competencies and performance record.
In the lengthy letter, dated October 16, Ssali requests that Kasaija who is the appointing authority for the NSSF leadership gives her an unbiased appraisal to validate her actual performance in order to allow my objective contract renewal decision.
She further asks the Minister as an independent and unbiased Supervisor of the administration of the Fund to “impress upon my esteemed colleagues to observe and respect the Fund administrative policies, rules of natural justice, the law of the land as guided under the court order to cease” and desist from their “continued harassment and victimisation of my person” that they have pursued since she returned to office.
Below is the full letter dated 16th October 2017 seen by SoftPower;
RENEWAL OF MY CONTRACT AS DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR – NATIONAL SOCIAL SECURITY FUND (NSSF)
Reference is made to the aforesaid subject matter. As you are aware, my three year contract that commenced 28th October 2017 will be ending this month on the 29th October 2017.
I’m writing to express interest in the renewal of my contract. Having not heard from you in writing, three months prior to the end of this month, I have decided to write and relay both my concerns and position on the matter.
I have been compelled to write because I feel that I didn’t get an opportunity to be heard and explain the alleged grounds for refusal to renew my contract that is expiring in the next few weeks.
First and foremost, in arriving at a final report about my performance, the Managing Director would have sat down with me and carried out my performance appraisal in line with Fund guidelines on performance. Indeed, contrary to this, I saw the MD’s unilateral three year report to the board about my performance for the first time, on the 18th of September 2017 in an e-mail from a junior administrator to the board, directly in contrast with Section 9.5.3 of the Fund’s Human Resource policy manual.
At best, the MD would have recused himself from drawing up the final report of my performance by declaring a conflict of interest since he was a Respondent in the Judicial review suit last year which I filed challenging the decision to oust me out of my office without any valid legal nor administrative reason, which decision was delivered in my favour.
It has come to my attention that the board that sat on the 25th of September 2017 resolved to recommend to you not to renew my contract based on the MD’s unilateral report. One would imagine that a decision as important as this would have been decided by the full board. Unfortunately this was not the case because one member who had given sufficient prior notice of her intentions to travel was excluded when the meeting was postponed until she left the country, the other was not invited and the one who wrote a minority report against the board’s decision was lucky to have been allowed into the board room as the Security guards had initially barred her from accessing the building as she arrived for the meeting. It was also unprecedented at the Fund for the subcommittee of the board to sit on the same day of the full board in arriving at their decision.
I also learnt that I was the only member of management whose behavior aspects of performance were put under scrutiny by the board in arriving at this adverse report. You may recall that the alleged “C” performance in 2015/16 was as a result of a deliberate miscalculation by the MD to the board, prorating my “A” performance result into a “C” by the 9 months he claimed I worked and the rest of the year, I was in court. To that effect, the same board agreed with him not to pay my bonus and imposed the C – poor performance on me against my will. As if that punishment was not enough, I’m now being recommended for exit.
It’s therefore not hard to see that this is simply a follow on action from the failed attempts in ousting me from an office I earned on merit. Contrary, my colleagues who caused financial loss of about UGX 330 Million as a result of their high handed actions against me were not only rewarded with huge bonuses – MD (UGX 87.2 Million) while CS (UGX 50.3 Million), but have also been recommended for rewards of a further five (5) year contracts 2 more years than the customary 3.
Like the MD relies on his six (6) departments to deliver value to the Fund, I also rely on the four (4) departments (as per my official job description handed down to me by the board last year) that I supervise since we are both in one office and at Tier 1 of the performance appraisal system prescribed under Fund policy.
The security firm, Pinnacle Security group that they allege in the MD’s report to have renewed their contract in-line with PPDA procedure is again the same company for which they retrospecively sent auditors, in a letter dated 13th September 2016 (attached) to comply with Section 43 of the NSSF Act, which would require a company to be compliant with the Act before they would qualify to bid for any work at the Fund. This is the same company that was employed to lock my office for the three months last year and not allow me access to the building, but also the same company with 3 criminal case at the Lubowa police station for a rape case and 2 negligent fire arm discharges. My plight in requesting for an independent security firm to provide me with personal security services at my house as opposed to Pinnacle group has fallen on deaf ears.
Since my return to office, the MD has resorted to sending me a string of Caution and Warning letters with frivolous charges all aimed at building a case that would result into this very conclusion. It’s not by coincidence that all these caution letters making their way to my file commenced upon my return to office from a fierce court battle with both the MD and Chairman in June last year. I understand that you called my file from the Fund register at the height of the court case last year in your quest to find any hint of evidence that would help explain the conflict.
You were surprised to find only my As (Very good Performance) and A+s (Excellent Performance) on my file, to which you challenged the MD and Board on the basis for their actions. I suspect, this is the factor that has now resulted the MD to work backwards to “fulfill your requirement” in furthering his unjustified cause against me.
It should also be noted that out of the one year and 10 months that the current board has been in charge within my 3 year tenure, I have only interacted with them in 5 meetings, two of which were SACA meetings and 3 of them disciplinary in nature.
The last three (3) years have therefore been challenging ones that have tested my mental strength to unimaginable limit. That aside, I have achieved a lot in the circumstances and have a number of achievements worth celebrating.
I’m a seasoned Business administrator, Finance expert and a Business Strategist with a proven track record of performance that was closely tested in 2014/15 when I was asked to Act as the Managing Director for a year at the Fund. I achieved phenomenon results despite the financial stress in the economy.
My high leadership resolve saw the business benefit from a number of local investments and businesses like UMEME (UGX 34 Billion out of the UGX 70 Billion) and KAKIRA SUGAR (Through a corporate bond of USD 43 Million). UMEME immediately made a Capital gain of UGX 44.5 Billion and a dividend of UGX 4.5 Billion. This set the total value of investment at UGX 119.2 Billion. This was about 83% Return on investment. During this time, the Fund was able to cross it’s milestone of hitting the UGX 5 Trillion mark, while Net Income grew by 8% (UGX 188 Billion).
Out of the Total revenues of UGX 808 Billion, the Fund was able for the first time to put away a surplus of UGX 272 Billion into the reserve, the highest surplus in the history of the Fund. This stack of money was able to bail out the Fund’s operations and Member interest in the Economic downturn of 2015/16 and the subsequent years. The Fund was able to pay the highest interest on record, all from realized gains of 13%! These investments are still performing very well to date.
My areas of supervision won the latest award for the Fund that the MD is now so proud of. The Fund was a Bronze Winner of the Employer Award 2016/17 as awarded by the Federation of Uganda Employers.
I’m also a member of the board of Housing Finance Bank since 2012 and the Chairperson of the Risk Committee in the Bank. My detailed performance to date is in a paper attached for your indulgence.
i) Apply the rules of natural justice; no person can be judge in his/her own cause. This is a no bias rule which should be strictly observed for equity to prevail. Therefore an independent process could be employed to appraise and validate my actual performance in order to allow my objective contract renewal decision.
ii) My prayer is that you as an independent and unbiased Supervisor of the administration of the Fund, impress upon my esteemed colleagues to observe and respect the Fund administrative policies, rules of natural justice, the law of the land as guided under the court order to cease and desist from their continued harassment and victimisation of my person that they have so vehemently pursued since my return to office in order to allow me a peaceful opportunity to continue serving the Fund and my country and find it in their hearts to depart from emotionally draining conflicts and concentrate on moving the Fund forward.
Geraldine Ssali Busuulwa
DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR