Nssa calls for another audit

HARARE - The National Social Security Authority (Nssa) says it has embarked on a more detailed forensic audit on some investment decisions, which are believed to have prejudiced pensioners of millions of dollars.

Nssa chairman Robin Vela on Friday said the pensions’ administrator believes that the previous James Matiza-led management could have fleeced the organisation of millions of dollars through shoddy deals and has appointed an independent firm to conduct investigations.

“The appointment of the firm has now been concluded and work on the investigative exercise will commence during this quarter and the board hopes to be able to report back more fully and definitively to stakeholders and the minister…,” he said.

This comes after a recent special audit by Nssa revealed mismanagement of funds by the authority on the refurbishment of Cornerstone House as previous managers flouted tender rules and inflated the project’s costs.

People knowledgeable about events at Nssa said the new Vela-led board wants the purchase of the $32 million Celestial Office Park in Borrowdale to be investigated as there are indications that the property could be overvalued.

“The board continues to evaluate the current investment portfolio with a view to restructuring its investments to ensure capital is protected and investment income enhanced.

“Although a moratorium has been largely placed on investments pending the appointment of substantive management, there are some opportunities whose timing required immediate consideration,” he said.

Late last year, Nssa-supported Zarnet concluded the funding of the purchase of Telecel International, which holds 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe.

Vela noted that the amount advanced was not a loan to Zarnet but a quasi-equity participation funding which gives the equity control of Telecel International to Nssa until certain conditions precedent are met by Zarnet.

“In all circumstances, Nssa will emerge as a significant equity holder in Telecel Zimbabwe Limited.

“A formal binding agreement has been signed in relation to the transfer of rights in the Telecel shares from Zarnet to Nssa, giving Nssa effective control over 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe,” he said.

The conclusion of the purchase agreement now awaits the payment offshore of the purchase price which is currently in a local trust account of a nominated legal firm.

Vela added that Nssa has also completed the installation of a new Information Communication Technology system that administers pensions with the remaining module relating to the workers compensation fund projected to go live this month.

“This will bring to a close the delay, which extended to some two-and-a-half years, in delivery of the new system to the authority,” he said.  

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