By Nqobile Tshili/ Oliver Kazunga
PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza yesterday dismissed as false social media claims that she was on the run fearing arrest over alleged corruption.
She told The Chronicle that she was in her constituency, Chikomba East in Mashonaland East addressing community-related matters.
Dr Nzenza said she was not on the run and will address a press conference today.
“I am currently in my village. Yesterday (Saturday) I was unreachable while meeting the community at a Save River crossing where crocodiles are threatening people and livestock so I was unaware of all these social media false stories,” she said.
She shared with Chronicle pictures of her in a garden with some women in her constituency.
Some social media users claimed over the weekend that Dr Nzenza was on the run in connection with a “bribe” she was said to have received from Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who was arrested last week and appeared in court for suspected corruption, to cover up her “crimes” at the National Social Security Authority’s (NSSA).
The allegations against Minister Mupfumira involve $95 million and some of the charges emanate from a NSSA audit. Millions of dollars went missing from NSSA when Minister Mupfumira was Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. More funds were also reportedly lost when she was now Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
On Saturday, acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi placed Minister Mupfumira on custodial remand for 21 days.
Dr Nzenza said the NSSA forensic report was still being simplified by legal experts while corruption matters are being handled by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
“We have to safeguard the interests of pensioners and the forensic report still needs to be unpacked by legal experts. If there are any criminal elements in the forensic, that is covered by ZACC. I have internal corporate governance matters to manage. I will give a press statement tomorrow,” she added.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana, through micro blogging site Twitter also said the minister was not on the run.
“Having a lot of media enquiries around the whereabouts of Hon Minister Nzenza. I have spoken to her and she assures the nation that she is in her constituency in Chikomba East and not on the run from anything or anyone and used strong terms to dismiss the circulating rumours,” said Mr Mangwana.
He said the minister is scheduled to hold a press briefing today at the NSSA boardroom at 11AM where she will respond to several issues happening in her ministry.
Last week in Parliament, Dr Nzenza explained why she had delayed to present the NSSA forensic report in the legislative assembly.
The report, which covers the period January 1, 2015 to February 28, 2018 is based on an investigation carried out last year.
Dr Nzenza said the role of the lawyers that they had engaged was to unpack key areas to be looked at in the report.
“They (lawyers) are focusing on one – issues to do with some irregularities under corporate governance; number two – possible irregularities to do with human resources – number three – they are also looking at irregularities to do with investments,” she said.
“Once that is done, I am hoping that this will be done in the next few days. I shall be presenting a ministerial statement and the outcome of the NSSA forensic report.” The Chronicle