By Brian Chitemba
A major shake-up is expected at the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) after a recent audit unearthed shocking corporate governance irregularities, it has been learnt.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the 2018 forensic audit into Nssa revealed glaring governance deficiencies by the Mr Robin Vela-led board.
Former managing director Ms Elizabeth Chitiga has already been pushed out.
Nssa, which is a statutory body, has for long been accused of mismanaging pensioners funds by making wasteful investments, which resulted in huge losses.
It administers the Pension and Other Benefits Scheme and the Accident Prevention and Workers’ Compensation Scheme.
Minister Nzenza said: “What I know is that there are a lot of governance issues which were raised by the forensic audit; there are irregularities which will be dealt with once the new board has gone through the report.”
Former Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Petronella Kagonye ordered the forensic audit in 2018 through the Auditor-General’s office, who, in turn, engaged a local audit firm to investigate alleged irregularities.
New Nssa board chair Dr Cuthbert Chidoori said the board was still perusing the audit report.
“I can confirm that the audit was ordered; the board is still looking at it. We are doing a thorough analysis, after which we will make the necessary pronouncements,” he said.
Dr Chidoori was not at liberty to reveal the contents of the audit report.
Nssa has been under spotlight for years for making questionable investments and paying high salaries and perks at a time when pensioners are earning $80 per month.
For instance, Mrs Chitiga used to earn around US$202 000 per annum, while the previous management, which was led by Mr James Matiza, also pampered itself with housing loans and luxury vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz sedans and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs.
This publication has written extensively on how NSSA spent US$100 million on investments that included shareholdings in broke companies and properties with inflated prices.
The parastatal lost US$2,5 million in the now defunct CFX Bank, while US$12 million was splashed on overpriced Starafrica corporation shares, and US$1,5 million on Africom Continental.
At least US$45 million was lost in collapsed Interfin Bank, which hit an iceberg after alleged abuse of depositors’ funds. The bank had non-performing insider loans worth US$60 million.
In addition, Nssa lost US$11,2 million worth of property to local authorities for non-development.
The institution also gave “non-profitable” loans to parastatals, with the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe getting US$3,1 million and Zesa US$9 million.
Cottco got US$5 million in November 2009 and another US$3 million in April 2010 at a 124-day tenure and interest rate of 18 percent per annum. The Sunday Mail