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Mavima lashes out against Nssa officials probing his corruption



PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima and his hatchet team within the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) are lashing out at Nssa boss Charles Shava who is investigating his corrupt US$400 000 upmarket house-purchase deal in Quinnington, Borrowdale, Harare.


After The NewsHawks exposed his corrupt deal, together with another fraudulent US$244 000 Kariba property transaction which got his key Nssa ally Brian Mrewa, director for investments and properties, suspended, the minister unleashed his attack dogs within Nssa and Zacc on Shava for exposing corruption.

Their strategy is being implemented to the tee in a bid to save the minister and his Nssa faction which was prevented by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga from seizing control of the US$1.2 billion pension fund in January when he was Acting President.

 Mavima and his Nssa board wanted to remove Shava and replace him with Agnes Masiiwa, Nssa director for contributions, collections and compliance. Chiwenga scuttled the plan. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also voiced serious concerns about Nssa corruption.

Mavima and his troops’ strategy was to move fast to get Shava arrested on Monday to pre-empt a disciplinary hearing against their ally Mrewa who has now fled to South Africa. Shava is the complainant as acting general manager.

 Without him, the case cannot go ahead. The minister and his group fear that the hearing might open Pandora’s box for them, revealing the Borrowdale house scandal and other corrupt activities around real estate.

When the disciplinary process was postponed to Friday, as Shava was briefing government officials on the house corruption on Monday, Mavima and his faction moved swiftly to rope in Zacc to arrest the Nssa boss on Thursday, a day before the hearing. That stalled the Friday hearing, which was their plan.

The disciplinary hearing was postponed to 30 March. Shava was arrested on fraud charges involving allegations that he gave allowances amounting to US$12.2 million to Nssa doctors — an average of US$3000 a month — without board approval. He appeared in court on Friday and was given ZW$500 000 bail.

He was remanded out to 3 May. While Zacc, which is accused of supporting the minister and his Nssa allies, charged Shava of fraud, his legal advisers say the allegations are fabricated and designed to get rid of him from the organisation to save the minister and his cronies.

Shava says he did not commit fraud because the allowances were approved by management and the board.

 He says the approvals are there in writing. Claims to the contrary, he says, are vindicative and malicious.

Announcing Shava’s arrest, Zacc said: “The accused altered a board resolution which had rejected the proposed allowances for four Nssa doctors and caused the human resources manager to pay the allowances without approval, claiming the board had since approved the allowances”.

 However, a memorandum dated 20 December 2022, from Shava to human resource committee chairperson Grace Mathe, shows that the board had approved the proposal to pay allowances to doctors.

The memo is signed by Shava, Mathe and board chairperson Percy Toriro. There is also another document supporting that resolution.

However, Mavima and his cabal would not let the truth stand in their way. Soon after he was granted bail, Shava is now the target of suspension. A legal opinion written by company secretary Prudence Mutsvanga recommends that Shava be suspended.

“Considering the above (Shava’s arrest and court appearance, as well as bail and attendant laws), we recommend that the board suspends Dr Shava pending finalisation of the inves tigations into his matter and in the interim appoint someone acting general manager,” Mutsvanga’s opinion, dated 3 March, says.

This gives Mavima and his board the opportunity to appoint Masiiwa acting general manager, the very thing Chiwenga blocked them from doing in January, saying it violated tenets of corporate governance in the midst of a forensic audit.

 Mavima wants his person to be in charge — and he prefers Masiiwa — so that he grabs control of the institution and covers up corruption tracks. Nssa, constituted and established in terms of the Nssa Act of 1989, is a statutory corporate body tasked by the government to provide social security.

It has an investment portfolio of US$1.2 billion in various sectors of the economy. As a result, it is seen as a cash cow by political and corporate vultures, although pensioners get peanuts.

 Zanu PF factions and their leaders always fight to control the fund as it gives them access to cheap finance and business deals for self-aggrandisement, as well as opportunities to build war chests for political battles.

 Due process and board approvals to buy the Quinnington house, Stand No. 218 Lot A1, for Mavima, amid fraudulent financial engineering for private benefit by Mrewa, were not followed and secured respectively.

 The house was valued at US$350 000, but US$400 000 was paid by Nssa, creating room for US$50 000 to go into Platinum Investment Managers on 3 October 2022. The issue came to light when Nssa deputy director audit Andrew Nyakonda was tasked by Nssa’s acting general manager Charles Shava on 16 February to conduct an investigation into the disposal of the Borrowdale house and the purchase of Kariba Lodge Stand No. 989 Kariba Township for US$244 000.

Although Nssa bought the house, it was not transferred to its books before it was sold to Mavima.

The minister initiated the deal as he identified the property and asked Nssa to buy and keep it for him while he awaited the disbursement of his US$500 000 housing allowance given to each cabinet minister. Deputy ministers got US$350 000 and MPs US$40 000. Efforts to get a comment from Mavima were unsuccessful.

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