By Fungai Lupande
Former National Social Security Authority (NSSA) properties manager Samuel Patrick Chiduza yesterday appeared in court facing criminal abuse of office as a public officer or alternatively fraud charges and was granted $500 bail.
Chiduza (61) is accused of misleading the national pension fund into buying a property whose price was inflated by over $8 million.
His accomplices, former investment director Shadreck Vera (46) and former general manager James Matiza have already appeared in court on similar allegations.
Chiduza appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
He was remanded to January 31 on $500 bail.
As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered to surrender his passport, report every Friday at CID Commercial Crimes and not interfere with police investigations.
He was represented by Mr Admire Rubaya.
The court heard that Chiduza was a member of the NSSA board investment committee, while his accomplice Matiza was the chairperson of the management investments committee.
In September 2014, NSSA secured stand No. 19280 Celestial Park, Borrowdale, Harare, from Matay-Kingdom (Pvt) Ltd.
The court heard that before NSSA could buy the property Vera, Matiza and Chiduza were supposed to enlist the services of property valuators to establish its market value.
This was toprovide NSSA with a benchmark for bargaining purposes.
Prosecutor Ms Audrey Chogumaira alleged that NSSA obtained three valuation reports from Bard Real Estate, which came up with a gross replacement cost of $29 million, forced value of $18 million and a market value of $24 million.
CB Richards Ellis produced gross replacement costs at $24,354 million, a market value of $25,6 million and did not give a forced value.
Another property evaluator, Green Plan (Pvt) Ltd, came up with a market value of $36 million, but did not provide gross replacement value.
The court heard that the three reports were to be presented to the board for review before an agreement of sale was signed.
It is alleged that out of the three reports, Bard Real Estate was the most favourable and would give NSSA leverage when it came to bargaining.
Vera, Matiza and Chiduza allegedly concealed that report and referred to the board reports from CB Richard Ellis and Green Plan.
The court heard that the two reports were the least cost effective and the board went on to pick Green Plan.
It is alleged that by so doing, the trio misrepresented to NSSA that the property was worth $36,5 million, yet they knew that it was worth $24 million.
The property was eventually bought for $32 million after price bargaining, prejudicing NSSA of $8 million.
Ms Chogumaira alleged that Chiduza’s actions were inconsistent with his duties as a public officer.
The matter came to light on October 24 last year following an audit. The Herald