By Watchdog reporter
One of the most moving testimonies on NSSF’s #FriendsWithBenefits TV show which runs on NTV at 5pm faked disability and changed his identity, to make it to the last eight, an internal investigation has proved.
The case which embarrassed the show producers and put the reputation of the Fund at risk, presented a man claiming to be Francis Tumusiime, who had lost his both hands to a factory accident. The man who was found to have one hand, had also changed his name, and presented a fake business, forcing the NSSF management to cancel him from the show.
The story of Francis Tumusiime on NSSF’s busy Facebook page went that he “worked as an Accounts Clerk in Kinyara Sugar Works where he got an accident. As he was passing by a machine, it cut off his finger and he later got an infection called gas gangrene.
Francis had an amputation up to the elbow. After that didn’t work, he was amputated up to just below shoulders. He healed in a month but unluckily, while administering of anesthesia, his nerve was damaged and he got paralysed.
He applied and got his NSSF benefits which he invested in Bee Keeping and paying his children’s school fees. Francis’ daughter Namulema Leilah says that these savings have helped with her studies to date.
“I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Arts & Social Sciences at Kyambogo University and I’m in second year” – she says.
Francis says that the proceeds from beekeeping take care of all his other projects and pays his workers.
“And any other household needs like school fees, clothes, food and all that” – Francis adds.
Francis says that his NSSF savings helped him after he go disabled and he got something that takes care of him & his family.
Francis feels very happy for what his savings have done for him is amazing.
“They say disability is not inability. As long as you have the brains, you can survive. I don’t envy anyone” – he says.
Discovering the fraud
Credit goes to NSSF management that as soon as they got a whistle-blower contesting “Francis Tumusiime’s” narrative, the Fund swung into action.
It was discovered that the real name of the contestant who had caught the viewers’ imagination was not Francis Tumusiime but Daniel Karuhanga.
He was immediately withdrawn from the show and replaced.
“Notice to all members and viewers about the disqualification of Francis Tumusiime, real name Daniel Karuhanga, from the #FriendsWithBenefitsshow,” said NSSF on its Facebook page, accompanied with a statement.
The investigation proved that “Francis Tumusiime” did not only change his name for the show but also has never been an NSSF member and therefore, could not have been paid his benefits. Also, the investigation proved that the contestant lied that he didn’t have two arms. Actually, he has only one. And last, what he claims as his business, the bee farm, was not his.
Earlier, the show claimed that “Tumusiime” who is now known to be Karuhanga, had “received an Invalidity Benefit”.
That Mr Karuhanga conned his way to reach the last eight, shocked NSSF management, who had sought maximum due diligence in verification of the contestants.
NSSF is giving sh30 million to the winner of the contest which seeks to showcase what people can do with their benefits after they retire. The show was started to help the Fund emerge from its tainted image with a number of scandals.