Pensioners demand justice

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FORMER Barclays bank employees whose pension funds were transferred to African Life Financial Services Zambia Limited have called on government to intervene as most of the pensioners have died without getting their benefits.

They said people who were in top positions between 2000 and 2005 allowed the transfer of funds to the fund. The former employees told Daily Nation yesterday, since 2007 about 200 pensioners had died, their children thrown out of school because of they had not received their pension. They also said those who were still alive had been subjected to the worst form of abject poverty hence the need for government to come to their aid.

"What is most shocking is when you learn it is fellow Africans with an insatiable for wealth, who are allegedly involved in the fraud and that they used both private and government institutions to defraud both pensioners and government out of tax. This is beyond human understanding," they stated.

They alleged that fraudulent rules were employed on workers on the fictitious of 55 in order to deprive them of their benefits. They said the same rules called for averaging of the last five annual salaries prior to retirement and those who worked for less than 10 years were excluded from the pension. Meanwhile the employees claimed that the Supreme Court failed to interpret and protect the laws by allowing the trustees and the bank to underpay the pensioners, when it said that there was no law which compelled a pension scheme to increase its pension line with inflation.

They said the judgement by the Supreme Court compelled retirees to be underpaid, saying that some former managers who worked for 20 years were supposed to be given K20, 000 as their pension. The former employees indicated that section 18 (3) (b) of a Pension Scheme Regulations Act, 1996 which protect the pensioners, said a defined benefit scheme, the portable benefit shall amount to the present value of accrued retirement pension to be determined by the scheme actuary.


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