ZCTU wades into Nssa corruption
ZIMBABWE’S largest labour union has challenged the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) to come clean after it emerged that Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima overpriced a US$350 000 property located in an affluent Harare suburb, thereby prejudicing the state-administered pension fund.
Last week, The NewsHawks revealed that a house in Quinnington, Borrowdale, Harare, was irregularly bought by Mavima through Nssa which falls under his ministry. Due process and board approvals to buy the Quinnington house, Stand No. 218 Lot A1, were not followed.
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 private pockets. The transaction was executed through Platinum Investment Managers on 3 October 2022.
The issue came to light when Nssa deputy director (audit) Andrew Nyakonda was tasked by the pension fund’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.
The Mavima case added to other corruption matters at Nssa now being investigated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) estimated at US$1.2 billion.
In an interview with The NewsHawks on Thursday, acting ZCTU secretary-general Kudakwashe Munengiwa said the union is deeply concerned about the corruption at Nssa and challenged Mavima to clear his name.
“We note that funds used to purchase the said property are pensioners’ contributions and investments. It is therefore prudent for the minister, as the custodian of those funds, to come clean on the matter,” he said.
Munengiwa, who is also the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers’ Union (ZUCWU) secretary-general, expressed concern that corruption at Nssa involved gatekeepers tasked with ensuring good corporate governance at the entity
“It is also bothersome that before any decisive action is taken on the findings of the Nssa forensic audit, multifaceted malpractices involving senior management continue to emerge and this time the minister is implicated in the same corrupt shenanigans,” said Munengiwa.
“Individuals and entities that wield authority in the public and private sector continue to bleed Nssa through arm-twisting due diligence processes in the awarding of tenders, non-per formance of due diligence on prospective contractors and non-evaluation of investment proposals with impunity.”
The firebrand trade unionist reiterated that ZCTU will not slumber while pensioners’ contributions and investments are plundered by a few individuals while beneficiaries languish in poverty.
“Nssa pension payouts and benefits remain pathetic because of corrupt individuals who manipulate systems and processes at the social security entity despite concerned efforts by labour to improve their benefits,” he said.
“We shall without fear or favour continue to raise alarm over corruption at Nssa as well as demand accountability and appropriate punitive action for the corrupt.”
Nssa investments and properties director Brian Mrewa, who helped Public Service minister Mavima to corruptly buy a US$400 000 house in Borrowdale, has reportedly skipped the border into South Africa to evade arrest by Zacc.
Mrewa is also involved in another fraudulent Kariba commercial property deal sold for US$215 000, although US$244 000 was taken out of Nssa for the same transaction.
Nssa’s general manager Arthur Manase was suspended over a dodgy US$750 000 housing loan which he got while he also simultaneously drew a housing allowance. It added to Zanu PF factional battles which continue to erupt and find expression in government and state institutions, with the US$1.2 billion Nssa pension fund being one of the key battlegrounds.
The ruling party factions and their leaders always fight to control Nssa, as it gives them access to cheap funding and business deals for self-aggrandisement, as well as an opportunity to build war chests for their political battles.
In a bid to bring the situation under control at Nssa, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga when he was acting president last month, clipped Mavima’s wings by stopping him from removing senior executives at Nssa and replacing them with his allies, saying it violated good corporate governance.