Minister Mupfumira’s arrest opens can of worms

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Minister Mupfumira’s arrest opens can of worms.

Parties who have gleaned the scandal-ridden NSSA forensic audit conducted by BDO auditors submitted that preferred charges against the minister are likely to be bordered on abuse of funds, gross incompetence and nepotism at NSSA when she was still minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare during the reign of ousted former President Robert Mugabe. Speaking to this publication on Thursday, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo said Mupfumira’s arrest was imminent and a vindication to the trade union which has been calling for her arrest and expulsion since Mugabe’s reign.

NO MONEY FOR 28 000 PENSIONERSThe arrest of cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira has become the first high profile arrest after Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) was given arresting powers. The arrest nullifies the notion that the anti-graft crusade has ’sacred cows’ and it has opened a floodgates of more arrests of former and current government officials who are believed to have benefitted from irregular deals with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), Zim Morning Post can reveal.

“We have always complained about the relationship of Mupfumira to (Robin) Vela who is her son in law, who lived outside the country but was appointed to head NSSA Board without capacity and would abuse funds with the blessings of the Minister,” said Moyo.

Moyo said Vela would abuse office and misuse funds, make investment outside the approval of the board and when ZCTU made noise about it Mupfumira fired ZCTU President Peter Mutasa as NSSA board member accusing him of leaking what they said was classified information.

A forensic audit report conducted by BDO Auditors states that Vela was chair of NSSA’s procurement sub-commitee and yet he was the sitting board chairperson. This was a direct contravention of corporate governance laws as it comprised the procurement procedure, noted Auditor-General Mildred. This arrangement would mean Vela could influence the engagement of his companies or those of his allies to be added on the suppliers’ list.

The audit conducted by BDO auditors believed to implicate Mupfumira and other government officials but is being withheld by the current Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Sekai Nzenza.

Moyo said ZCTU condemns the withholding of the audit report that is supposed to be for tax payers and citizens’ consumption.

“She works for a government that is known for hiding information to the public, during the time of Mugabe a lot of findings were never made public and Nzenza is just repeating what we have been fighting for,” said Moyo.

Documents seen by this publication show that the appointment of the current Information and Digital manager Perpetua Chimeura during Mupfumira’s stint as minister was flawed.

Chimeura was not among the more than 100 applicants and therefore her appointment smacks of nepotism. In AG Chiri ‘s audit report, the NSSA management acknowledged the ‘misnomer’. Scandals in the report are said to range from abuse of office, nepotism and gross incompetence.

Sources say among the top scandals in the audit report is the disappearance without trace of forty million dollars that was transferred from a NSSA account to Metbank for command agriculture under Mupfumira’s order.

Our sources further allege that at one time, Mupfumira through NSSA board took $2 million meant for Corporate Social Responsibility, but diverted the funds to sponsor her political activities in Mashonaland West. She is said to have worked in cahoots with some Metbank officials to transfer money or make transfers of large amounts without trace.

This is through her close relationship with Metbank boss Ozius Bvute who is believed to be her business partner, according to our source. “It is not a secret that Metbank was financially weak and had a nil trading limit but NSSA went ahead and invested more than $60 million with the bank on Mai Mupfumira’s directive .

“It was a risky investment and NSSA sunk. “I understand they (Bvute and Mupfumira) also acquired Newlands sports club which houses Club Lush band, a golf course,” revealed our source.

Mupfumira’s arrest comes after the ZANU PF youth league and women’s league has pushed the president to investigate all corrupt activities within the party and government.

The youth league accused her of being one of the leaders of a corruption cartel that sucks in top government officials and bank executives.

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