$30m NSSA scam sucks in Biti

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday indicated that it was keen to interview Finance Minister during the Government of National Unity era Tendai Biti over allegations that he instructed the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to deposit over $30 million into two banks which later collapsed.

Mr Biti is also being accused of instructing the banks to give the money to specific clients who were linked to members of a certain political party.

Briefing journalists on the cases that it is investigating, ZACC Investigations Committee head commissioner Goodson Nguni said Mr Biti was under probe for instructing that over $30 million be deposited into Interfin Merchant Bank and Renaissance Bank on separate occasions.

“We are keen to interview Mr Biti since he was implicated by former NSSA general manager Mr James Matiza that he issued instructions for $30 million to be deposited into Renaissance Bank,” he said.

“Mr Matiza claims that he was instructed by somebody at the Ministry of Finance (Mr Biti) during the Government of National Unity to deposit the money into the bank when it was known that the bank was distressed and was about to be closed.

“So, the $30 million went down the drain. We are following up and prosecution of people will start very soon.
“At Interfin Merchant Bank, we are investigating how someone from the Ministry of Finance directed that money from Afreximbank should be given to specific clients who were linked to members of a political party.

“The bank gave this money without any security, we are talking of millions of dollars. Because the bank was troubled and in distress, the money went down the drain. We are following up on those people who authorised the money to be given to Interfin Merchant Bank and those that were given the money.”

Comm Nguni said they were also investigating NSSA in connection with the construction of Joina City where money has not yet been paid back.

He said former directors at NSSA were under probe for giving themselves loans amounting to millions of dollars.
“We are generally going to look at all the investments by made by NSSA during the last five to 10 years from the time of the GNU to make sure that we recoup the money of the pensioners that was invested by some NSSA executives,” he said.

Comm Nguni said NSSA was a very topical issue and they had managed to arrest suspects who have since appeared in court on fraud charges.
“But I also want to tell you that the Government housing project is proceeding very well,” he said.

“For example, in Dzivarasekwa, houses were built and there is very little prejudice.
“But we are going to those people that violated the law.

“We have issued arrest warrants for some people who have absconded and are not in the country right now. They say they are seeking medical attention outside the country. We will wait for them and when they come back, we will take them to court.”

In May, ZACC said it was investigating corruption cases involving over $78 million at NSSA and the National Building Society (NBS), which was released to individuals and companies for the construction of houses in and around Harare.
NBS is a subsidiary of NSSA.

Comm Nguni said they were also investigating Royal Bank and Kingdom Bank, where $20 million was given to some of the executives without any form of security, resulting in the collapse of the banks.

“We are also investigating banking fraud that has been taking place where some owners of indigenous banks received deposits from people and then gave themselves insider loans,” he said.

“Some of them externalised the money, bought houses in South Africa and we are following up on those leads.” – Herald