The National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA), being custodian of worker’s contributions, draws public interest in the way it manages the funds under its care.
Various speculations have, over the years, suggested that there have been a lot of shady investments instigated by political pressure to buy or invest in ventures that they would not ordinarily do so, due to them being overpriced or too risky in one form or the other.
When the Patriotic Front government came into power, they undertook a concerted campaign to investigate all such dealings of the institution.
Among the speculations were the buying of land on Thabo Mbeki road by private persons who kept them for a while before NAPSA was prevailed upon to buy them at exaggerated prices. This scheme was facilitated using political pressure because the private beneficiaries were very close to the ruling party.
Is it a coincidence, therefore, that the same NAPSA is again involved in the controversial Baobab land?
In this case, there are two private companies that have benefited from land that was initially given to Lusaka City Council. The two companies have for a long time failed to develop the land due to the controversy and court cases related to the Baobab land.
Shockingly, NAPSA has now bought 13 plots on the controversial Baobab land.
The public needs to know how much NAPSA has paid for these plots and how it could have bought such plots that are marred in controversy.
We want NAPSA to come out and dispel speculations that there was a lot of political pressure to buy these plots at exaggerated prices. Was this deal politically facilitated in spite of court actions regarding its legal ownership? We hear that title deeds for these same plots were fast tracked just last February, so we want to know who was pushing for their quick processing.
We expect NAPSA’s key stakeholder organisations, the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) and the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) to exercise greater vigilance in these matters to protect workers’ contributions.
It is not enough to complain only when there is a change of government because waiting to take action may be too late.
Is there political pressure at NAPSA, once again, to invest in deals in which politically connected private companies and individuals make money very quickly? We need to know.