By Luke Anami
There is concern that RBA’s requirement that pension schemes reduce investment in property and land to 30 per cent could see assets hurriedly sold under questionable circumstances. However, the pensions regulator has warned the requirement is not a leeway for NSSF to hurriedly dispose off assets.
NSSF, which is still on the spot over its decision to pay debtors, including Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, millions of shillings, is now under scrutiny after it advertised for sale a prime plot in Nairobi at a time when the issues surrounding the controversial payments have not been resolved.
RBA and the Auditor General’s office have since taken issue with the impending transaction.
“We are aware NSSF wants to sell land and other properties to comply with RBA’s investment guidelines,” Charles Machira, the regulator’s supervision manager told Business Weekly. “However, the RBA Act does not in any way say if you have in excess of certain assets, you sell them hurriedly.”
The Auditor General has raised a number of queries, including a disclosure to dispose of property indicated in last year’s audited accounts, which are due to be released this month.
“ NSSF submitted an audit report last month, we have raised issues and we were expecting comments last week,” Auditor General Edward Ouko said. “When they respond we will be able to share the findings with the public.”
NSSF recently advertised for sale Hazina Towers (valued at Sh2 billion) and View Park Towers (Sh1.4 billion), all located in Nairobi’s Central Business District.
In an advertisement placed in local dailies, the Fund invited tenders from prospective buyers for its assets that include an undeveloped plot next to the Israel embassy in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area. The estimated value of the two-acre plot is Sh1 billion.
NSSF has since cancelled the sale of the two towers.