PM pushes for arrest of ex-Nssa board

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for the prosecution of the previous National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board and management after a State enquiry exposed a myriad of white-collar crimes, including corruption, tax fraud, and bribery.

Nssa is a statutory body established in 1989 to handle pension savings for better old age.

An 18-page report by the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (Neci) brought stark new evidence of massive corruption by the Albert Nhau-led Nssa board with stunning revelations about pension fund theft that has shocked and outraged the nation.

Top Harare lawyer Innocent Chagonda took over in 2010 from Nhau as Nssa chairperson.

Tsvangirai’s office has written to Paurina Mpariwa, minister of Labour and Social Services to hand the Neci report to the Anti-Corruption Commission and to the police.

The Neci probe was commissioned by Mpariwa, and it uncovered massive corruption, theft, criminal abuse of office by Nssa board members and management and other employees at Nssa.

The depth and breadth of the Nssa corruption, enabled by senior officials, is simply beyond the scale of organised criminal organisations.

“The (PM)’s Office has noted with concern that though this Neci report was finalised one-and-half years ago, it appears that no meaningful effort has been expended to act on its findings,” said a September 7, 2012 letter to Mpariwa from Ian Makone, the chief secretary in the PM’s office.

“It is the considered view of this office that all the issues raised in this report need to be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement agents of the State. The Prime Minister has instructed me to request your office to refer the issues raised in the Neci report to Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission without further notice.”

The Neci unearthed fraudulent management of several millions of dollars in pensioners’ funds, and the PM wants the board to stand trial for the large-scale fraud and embezzlement of funds.

The corruption exposed includes rigging of tender processes, corrupt real estate projects including houses and hotels, vehicle schemes, wheat trade, fraudulent arbitration costs, investing in shares, banking, including the money market, and flawed recruitment of directors and other managerial staff.

Nssa directors and management funded a luxury lifestyle, riding in cars worth between $100 000 and $230 000. They splashed out on exclusive homes and various high-performance cars, including Mercedes Benz S350 and Jeep Cherokees. - Gift Phiri


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