By Mary Taruvinga
HUNDREDS of Chitungwiza Municipality employees could fail to access their monthly pensions on retirement after their employer squandered contributions and failed to remit over $13 million collected from workers to the Unified Councils Pension Fund (UCPF).
The UCPF has since dragged the local authority to the High Court to compel the council to pay the overdue contributions. Most Chitungwiza Municipality employees are members of the pension fund.
According to an application filed by the pension fund at the High Court, the debt has been outstanding since 2017, but the municipality has not shown any interest in settling it.
Court papers show that the municipality, in terms of the law, is obliged to deduct a part of its employees salaries and remit it as pension contributions to the pension fund.
“As of 11 November 2019, the accumulating and acknowledged pension contributions for various employees which the defendant ought to have remitted to the plaintiff is $13, 131, 583,79,” the court papers.
“At all material times, the debt has been acknowledged by Chitungwiza Municipality and the defendant confirmed its indebtedness. The plaintiff approached the defendant on several occasions requesting the payment of the outstanding pension contributions, which payment the defendant has failed to do, despite acknowledging the same and undertaking to make payment or offset the debt,” reads UCPF’s application.
The pension fund wants the local council to pay the amount including interests. The Chitingwiza Municipality is yet to file its heads of arguments.