Ex Nssa boss in $30m scandal

HARARE - Former National Social Security Authority (Nssa) general manager Elizabeth Chitiga yesterday appeared in court on criminal abuse of office and fraud charges after she allegedly prejudiced the company of more than $30 million dollars in housing projects.

Chitiga allegedly awarded contracts for the construction of an $80 million National Building Society (NBS) housing project to land developers without the knowledge of the responsible authorities.

Harare Magistrate Victoria Mashamba remanded Chitiga to January 11 on $1 000 bail.

As part of her bail conditions, Mashamba ordered Chitiga to surrender her passport with the clerk of court, continue residing at her given address, report to the police once a week and not to interfere with investigations.

The complainant is NSSA which is being represented by acting general manager Emmerson Mungwariri.

It is the State case that in September 2016, Nssa and NBS convened a strategic meeting whose resolutions included the mandate to NBS for the provision of 10 000 low cost housing developments countrywide.

In an endeavour to achieve the said target, they (Nssa and NBS) conducted road shows across the country which were headed by the head of housing projects Silas Mukono to identify willing partners for engagement.

The court heard that Mukono’s team identified 14 possible projects and selected five to kick-start the project namely Victoria Range, Denver Township, Mkoba, Dulibadzimu and Emganwini.

On July 20, 2017 NBS treasurer Latifa Kassim forwarded the five projects to Nssa chief strategic investment officer Chakanyuka Nziradzemhuka for funding by Nssa at a total cost of $80 991 200.

It is alleged that on August 24, 2017 Chitiga’s accomplice James Tirivavi Chiuta who is already on trial over the same allegations responded to Kassim by e-mailing his own five projects with a total cost of $78 827 500 which comprised Dzivaresekwa, Chikanga Extension, Shropshire, Lot 834 and 835 and Elmswood.

Chiuta’s justification for his own projects was that NBS projects had insufficient information for approval by the Nssa board, the court heard.

Chiuta allegedly handed the projects to NBS for implementation before the Nssa board’s approval.

In an effort to regularise his directives, Chitiga and Chiuta allegedly connived and misrepresented to the investment board committee that NBS required funding for the five projects.

Acting upon this representation, the court heard that the board approved funding to the tune of $78 827 500 on the understanding that due process by both Nssa and NBS had been followed.

It is alleged that although the five projects were imposed by the duo, NBS conducted due diligence on the projects and only Dzivarasekwa and Chikanga projects partially met the requirements.

Offtake agreements were signed prompting NBS managing director Lameck Danga to request $29 312 899 drawdown from Nssa to fund the projects.

Investigations revealed that N-Frays and Globeny Construction purportedly awarded contracts to implement the Zishavane and Gweru projects were not aware of the proposals neither did they submit proposals for the said projects.

It is alleged that representatives from N-Fray and Globeny distanced themselves from the allocations.

According to the State, Chitiga and Chiuta potentially prejudiced Nssa of $31 727 500.


 

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