Ex-NSSA boss, Vela welcomes court judgment setting aside AG-BDO report, vows to fight ‘smear campaign’ 

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FORMER National Social Security Authority (NSSA) chairperson Robin Vela has pledged to continue to fight abuse of power, political expediency and overreach, and corruption after a landmark court judgment vindicated him.

He hailed the damning High Court ruling which found that adverse findings and conclusions relating to him in an Auditor-General forensic audit report into NSSA between 1 January 2015 to 28 February 2018 were “biased, inaccurate, untrue and incompetent”.

The businessman said the judgment proved his innocence and integrity and validated his long-standing protestations of persecution.

“I am delighted at the finding of the Zimbabwe High Court as it completely vindicates me. Some three years of being maligned for political expediency, especially when you are a professional in the prime years of your career, who depends on reputation and integrity, have been very, very hard, Vela said.

He added that his reputation had been damaged and the “spurious charges affected him both financially and emotionally”.

“BDO International has a duty to ensure that their affiliates behave in a manner which is consistent with global auditing and accounting standards and is professional, credible and impartial.

“Recent events in South Africa have shown that professional services firms have a duty to behave ethically and with integrity,” Vela said.

He is also looking at funding a private prosecution, against actors who he says have sought to extort money by perpetuating “false and unsubstantiated fabricated defamatory stories against him, and who are currently protected by the offices they occupy”.

Vela says he joined NSSA – a position he neither applied for nor courted – when requested because, like so many internationally professionally qualified and educated Zimbabweans, he wanted to make a contribution towards the revival of Zimbabwe.

Instead of being applauded for shepherding NSSA into a strong financial position. He was hounded out at the behest of the then Minister of the Public Service, Petronella Kagonye.

In a damning judgment issued on June 17, 2020, Justice Webster Chinamora agreed with Vela and found the investigation leading to the report was biased and that the auditors did not apply their minds to issues before them.

In relation to the conduct of BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, Justice Chinamora found that it was within its power to eliminate some of the failure which undermined Vela’s rights. In the exercise of his discretion, he ruled by awarding punitive costs against BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants.

Vela has now appointed an international “defamation litigation dream team” to pursue damages against BDO International, the parent company of BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants who conducted the investigation and whose conduct Justice Webster Chinamora ruled they warranted censure and against whom he awarded punitive costs.