President Edgar Lungu has gone against the Public Pensions Act by interfering in the decision of the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) Board to keep Dr Richard Mwiinga as Chief Executive Officer, and has since terminated his contract.

On December 1, 2017, the PSPF board met to review the performance of Dr Mwiinga, and sources have told News Diggers! that he was rated highly by the committee, before the decision to renew his contract was arrived at.

“The Board received the recommendation from its committee to renew Dr Mwiinga’s contract on 1st December. After the board assessed his performance he was rated highly at 86.8 per cent and everybody was resolved to renew his contract. But to everyone’s surprise, the Permanent Secretary at [Ministry of] Labour Barnaby Mulenga and Mr Biniface Chimbwali who is PS at [Public Service Management Division] PSMD, said they needed to consult externally before the contract would be renewed,” explained the sources.

“This was strange because when the board hears the recommendation, and after assessment it is satisfied, then the contract can be renewed; or terminated if the CEO did not perform well in the period under review. This is in accordance with the Public Pensions Act. There is never a need to consult the President or anyone else.”

But the source explained that a week later, the two permanent secretaries informed the board that the President decided that Mwiinga should be removed.

“Then on 8th December [2017], the PS Labour, Mulenga, in league with Mr Chimbwali, informed the Board that ‘the President has decided not to allow the contract of Dr Mwiinga to be renewed. But this is against the Public Pensions Act that vests the authority to appoint the Chief Executive of the PSPF in the Board,” said the source.

“It was further strange that Mr Mulenga did not produce a written statement from the President, and when consulted, the Secretary to the Cabinet was not aware of this manoeuvres.”

The sources disclosed that the President has further ordered that all board members who were questioning his interference at the PSPF should be removed.

“You will hear more as this scandal unfolds soon, because we actually hear that the President has signed letter to remove those who questioned this move. Even the Board Chairman Dr Moses Banda, must have been removed by last week or so. You can also ask others like Professor [Oliver] Saasa, if they are still on the board,” the sources said.

The sources said Mulenga has since assumed the position of Board Chairman and secretary.

“So when Mr Mulenga told the board [on December 8, that the President doesnt want Dr Mwiinga, he also assumed chairmanship as well as being the secretary of the board. They also ordered these other board members to leave the meeting,” explained the sources.

Meanwhile, the Public Service Pension Fund has since posted a flashing advert on its website calling for applicants to fill the position of chief executive officer.

Mwiinga succeeded Thomas Phiri who was suspended from the helm of the Public Pension Fund following corruption allegations.

This was after Transparency International Zambia challenged the PSPF Board of Directors to explain allegations that Phiri used his influence to obtain a tender for Kath Limited whose two directors according to documents at PACRA, were alleged to be his children.