By Freeman Razemba
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating corruption cases involving over $78 million at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and National Building Society (NBS) in which funds were released to individuals and companies for the construction of houses in and around Harare.
NBS is a subsidiary of NSSA. Some of the funds are alleged to have been released through an order by former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Patrick Zhuwao when he was appointed as the minister in October last year.
Most of the beneficiaries are linked to the former first lady Mrs Grace Mugabe.
Addressing journalists in Harare on Thursday, Zacc commissioner Mr Goodson Nguni confirmed that they had concluded their investigations on these cases.
“Former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Patrick Zhuwao sometime in 2017 asked NSSA to release funds for national housing projects that had the potential of fleecing NSSA of millions of dollars.
“Circumstances are that upon his appointment as minister, Zhuwao through the NSSA board, ordered that the authority avail $78 million for national housing project. Of that total $16,2 million was paid to a company called N-Frays which is owned by one indigenous person called Mr Tinashe Nheta. The money was for the construction of 600 housing units on a 24 hectare plot in Dzivarasekwa, Harare,” he said.
He said the cost of building materials was $4,57 million with the remainder $12 million being labour costs.
Mr Nguni said the land in question was sold by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in September 2015 and the asking price by that time was $334 800.
“The offer was given to a company called Drapmesh Construction whose directors were Junior Shuvai Gumbochuma (sister to Mrs Mugabe) and a Mr Katurudza. These two people did not pay anything towards the purchase of this land,” he said.
He said some of the anomalies in the Dzivarasekwa housing project are that the project was awarded to N-Frays without going to tender and that the developer did not pay the performance bond that was required by the National Building Society before the funds could be released.
“N-Frays reportedly paid $2,2 million to Mrs Gumbochuma for the purchase of the land whose purchase price from the Ministry of Local Government when Patrick Zhuwao was now the new Labour Minister in October last year was now $410 000.
“The purchase was not done by Mrs Gumbochuma but NBS did it on her behalf and there were no certificate of compliance from the Surveyor General’s Office. The housing units, we are told are substandard, an indication that the constructor did not do a smart job,” Mr Nguni said.
He said upon the completion of this project, N-Frays was supposed to surrender these houses to NBS and they have not. He said that was not the only project that Zhuwao presided over when he was minister of labour.
“He also ordered NSSA to release $18 million to a project in Caledonia fronted by a company called Housing Corporation of Africa owned by Adam Molai as one of the directors. You probably know Mr Adam Molai is a son-in-law to the former first family.”
Mr Nguni said the third project was in Mutare which was given to a company called Globen Construction and they were paid $11 million in advance without going to tender.
He said with this project, the bricks were to be supplied by one Robert Zhuwao who is a brother to Patrick Zhuwao who was given an order to supply 2 million bricks after being paid $2 million.
He said Robert Zhuwao only supplied 200 000 bricks to date and NBS has not even sued for the money they paid to him.
“What is very clear and very intriguing is that National Building Society is not in the business of buying land on behalf of private people and then signing contract for these people to build houses for them. This matter should have gone to tender.
“There is also an amount of $2,2 million by National Building Society to a company called Premier Link Services. This company has no history of housing development. When asked why did they pay Premier Link Services they said they paid them to hold to the money so that whenever they wanted something bought they could use that money,” Mr Nguni said.
He said the company doesn’t have any offices.The Chronicle