Inside NSSA audit report Mr Vela

Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) forensic audit report tabled in Parliament this week exposes shocking corruption, fraud, criminal abuse of office and theft that saw the authority being prejudiced of over US$175 million.

NSSA suffered actual financial prejudice to the tune of US$7 536 375, while investigators detected potential financial prejudice of US$167 713 756.

Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira and the authority’s former board chairman Mr Robin Vela feature prominently in the report.

Off-take housing contracts awarded to undeserving companies through corruption have potentially prejudiced NSSA of US$104 million.

According to the report, NSSA lost US$4 172 000 to one bank in a corrupt debt swap deal involving the bank’s property.

The bank also reportedly sold properties to NSSA at highly inflated prices, prejudicing the authority of US$2 055 000.

The executive management awarded themselves unapproved loans and benefits to the tune of US$306 195 while non-executive directors got US$86 322.

Unfair labour practices and the awarding of a golden handshake, resulted in NSSA losing US$598 718.

Prominent figures were fingered in the scandal that saw NSSA “blindly” releasing close to US$27 355 000 to three construction companies without going to tender, neither did the authority carry out a due diligence exercise.

NSSA also lost US$62 million through Treasury Bills and loans advanced to the named bank.

The report also exposed recruitment scandals that saw Mrs Elizabeth Chitiga, who was third in the interviews, being appointed chief executive ahead of the top two.

NSSA, according to the report, awarded tenders for the construction of 10 504 housing units, under off-take housing project, but not even a single unit was constructed despite releasing an advance deposit payment of US$27 355 000. All this was done with the approval of Minister Mupfumira and Mr Vela.

Two of the companies—Drawcard (Private) Limited and Metro Reality Private Limited—got special treatment in the awarding of the tender because they were linked to Goromonzi North legislator and the bank’s chief executive officer.

The bank’s chief executive and managing director own a real estate concern which, according to the report, contributed to the company’s favourable treatment which saw it being awarded two off-take housing contracts in one day.

The award of the two contracts, according to the report, was done at a meeting held in Mr Vela’s office in the presence of Minister Mupfumira and the bank’s officials.

Housing Corporation Zimbabwe, the third company, was awarded the US$304 million contract when it was a week old because of its with Mr Vela.

The company was awarded a contract to construct 8 000 units when it was still green and without following the tender procedure.

It was paid a deposit of US$16 million in 2017 but not even a single unit was built.

On April 7 2016, NSSA held interviews for the post of general manager and Ms Elizabeth Chitiga, who was third with 83 percent got the job ahead of Ms Rachael Kupara and Mrs Tanya Chikanza who scored 90 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

One of the internal candidates Mr Henry Chikova who was shortlisted, was not interviewed for unclear reasons.

NSSA membership records were also found to be in shambles with a classic case of a teacher in Wedza whose monthly salary was recorded as $48 000.

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