We need forensic audit on CIPF operations: Pensioners

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PENSIONERS have called on government to conduct a forensic audit on the operations of the Clothing Industry Pension Fund (CIPF), amid concerns that the fund was being abused.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Some CIPF pensioners told Southern Eye that the fund management had refused to release their monthly benefits, claiming their names were not in the main database.

“I am deeply wounded and worried as to what happened to our contributions. I and my colleagues are unable to get paid, as we are told that we never existed in their database. As for others who were in the same firms, they are being told processing (is being done) month in and month out,” one pensioner said.

Thousands of pensioners lost their benefits during the switch-over from the Zimbabwe dollar to the multi-currency system in 2009 and were currently living in abject poverty.

The CIPF pensioners said they never received anything from the fund since that time.

“We have tried in vain to understand why some employees exist and some don’t exist within the same database without any success or conclusion as they claim to keep checking. We are kindly asking the relevant authorities to assist us in fully auditing the Clothing Industry Pension Fund for the following reasons,” they said.

The pensioners said CIPF management bought properties during the Zimbabwe dollar era between year 2000 and 2009 using their contributions. One property bought during that time is former Bradlows building now called CIPF Centre.

“We believe they are realising rentals not only from CIPF Centre but other properties along Khami Road in Bulawayo and other properties in Harare. We should be benefiting from such proceeds but we are not. What is happening to the proceeds and to our contributions?” the pensioners queried.

CIPF principal officer Langelihle Mlilo said pensioners were free to approach his offices if they had any grievances.

“Thank you for bringing to my attention our former member’s query. You could greatly assist us by directing the aggrieved member to the principal officer for a quick resolution of the complaint because all queries at CIPF are dealt with on an individual basis, depending on the circumstances regarding each case,” Mlilo said.

“Please note that the issue of accuracy of member details is a responsibility of both the fund and the contributing companies who supply the fund with their employee details hence the fund requires the full cooperation of all employers in information submission for the records to be accurate.”