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Counties and State up fight for control of Sh60b pension funds

By Dominic Omondi | August 11th 2021
State wants to control funds run by the Local Authorities Pension Trust and County Pensions Fund. [Courtesy]

The national and county governments are engaged in a vicious battle to control the Sh60 billion pension fund for the devolved units’ employees.

Through the State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC), the national government has moved to control funds being run by the Local Authorities Pension Trust (LapTrust) and County Pensions Fund (CPF) Financial Services.

The move has triggered a sharp reaction from county bosses who see this as yet another attempt to muzzle the devolved units.

On July 26, SCAC Secretary Wanjiku Wajogi wrote to the LapTrust Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hosea Kili seeking the latter to furnish her with critical information relating to the pension fund and its subsidiaries.

In the letter, Ms Wakogi refers to a letter from the Office of the Attorney General in which pension and provident funds are public entities.

“Consequently, the Local Authorities Trust Fund, and by extension, its affiliate companies or subsidiaries are public bodies,” said Wakogi in the letter which was also copied to the Attorney General Paul Kihara, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa and the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.

Some of the critical information relating to LapTrust and its affiliates which Wakogi wants to be furnished with include documents of registration, shareholding structure as well as assets.

She also asked for their CEOs and current board of directors pay; their letters and terms of appointment as well as their cumulative period of service.

They also requested information about the company secretary, organisation structure, any existing joint ventures and audited accounts for the last three years. It is a decision that has opened up another battleground between the two levels of government with the latter insisting that it is unconstitutional.

Laikipia Governor Nderitu Mureithi said that the national government is overreaching its mandate. “CPF is a county function. The national government has no business trying to interfere with the running of county institutions,” said Nderitu.

The State insists the funds are public bodies that must fall under the ambit of the national government.

However, counties insist that the mere fact of the entity being public does not mean that it should be put under the control of the State.

Mr Nderitu points to water companies and revenue boards both of which are public entities but are still under the control of counties.

CPF is a contributory retirement benefits scheme for county employees where both the employer and employee make contributions for the benefit of the employee. Some of the projects that CPF has been financing include the Ugatuzi Towers.

Government officials, including CSs Yatani and Wamalwa had not responded to our questions but the time of going to press.

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