LAPF in $40m+ pen­sion ar­rears

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Bianca Mlilo Busi­ness Re­porter

THE Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties Pen­sions Fund (LAPF) owes more than $40 mil­lion in un­paid pen­sions and ben­e­fits to its mem­bers, it has emerged.

LAPF was es­tab­lished as a self ad­min­is­tered de­fined ben­e­fit scheme and 45 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties con­trib­ute to the fund. In a let­ter dated Au­gust 30, 2016 writ­ten to Seng­weni Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers, LAPF chief ex­ec­u­tive Mr Charles Man­dizvidza at­trib­uted the ar­rears to non-re­mit­tance of pen­sions by lo­cal au­thor­ity mem­bers.

Seng­weni Le­gal Prac­ti­tion­ers is rep­re­sent­ing the 146 re­trenched Ing­webu Brew­eries’ work­ers who claim to be owed more than $7 mil­lion in back­dated pay and re­trench­ment pack­ages in which the low­est paid in­di­vid­ual is be­ing owed about $39 000.

The ex-work­ers al­lege that they are owed their pen­sions, back pay and over­time for the pe­riod 2009-2012 and re­trench­ment pack­ages.

“The fund’s (LAPF) cash flows are ex­tremely con­strained re­sult­ing in in­ca­pac­ity to meet obli­ga­tions on time. This is as a re­sult of sub­scrib­ing mem­ber lo­cal au­thor­i­ties fail­ing to re­mit con­tri­bu­tions to the fund,” said Mr Man­dizvidza.

“We presently have over $40 mil­lion in un­paid pen­sion ben­e­fits and we do not an­tic­i­pate an im­prove­ment in the short term.”

Ing­webu ex-work­ers ear­lier this year made head­lines when they camped at the brew­ery’s plant in Bel­mont. They have since de­cided to ap­proach the Harare High Court, un­der whose ju­ris­dic­tion LAPF falls, to in­sti­gate pro­ceed­ings against their for­mer em­ployer.

LAPF mem­ber­ship as at April 30, 2016 stood at 30 000 (roughly 20 000 serv­ing mem­bers and 10 000 pen­sion­ers).

The fund has as­sets worth over $200 mil­lion be­fore im­pair­ment of re­ceiv­ables of which con­tri­bu­tion debtors are a sub­stan­tial amount.

In 2014 LAPF lost about $1 mil­lion in a scam in­volv­ing a King­dom Bank em­ployee and two ac­coun­tants from pen­sions fund. The Lo­cal Au­thor­i­ties Pen­sion Fund al­legedly suf­fered a prej­u­dice of $926 371. — @Bian­caMlilo

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