Former Nssa chair Vela rubbishes forensic report

By Robert Tapfumaneyi

FORMER National Social Authority (NSSA) board chairperson Robin Vela has approached the High Court seeking an order to set aside the findings of the authority’s forensic report.

The report reveals that Vela was at the centre of the abuse of funds at the government pensions administrator and has since resulted in the arrest of Tourism Minister Priscah Mupfumira who once served as Public Service Minister.

Vela in an application now before the High Court argues the auditors were biased and went out of their way to tarnish his image.

He further argues that the auditors ignored board minutes and communication between board members showing that some of the deals now being used for criminal prosecutions were above board.

The 122 page forensic report has unearthed massive corruption that prejudiced the authority of millions of dollars.

The Auditor General Mildred Chiri and private auditors BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants are first and second respondents respectively.

“In conducting that investigation, second respondent (BDO) committed many reviewable irregularities, which have now been fully set out in the founding affidavit,” said Vela in his court papers file by his lawyers Rubaya and Chatambudza.

“The auditors provided a questionnaire which put to me certain pointed, though biased questions, as I have already indicated. I objected and did at the same time take issue with the manner in which the questions were framed and the premise from which they proceed.”

Vela added: “The manner in which the investigators went about executing their task speaks to their incompetency which incompetency affects the outcome of the report.

“The report does not constitute a forensic report, public power cannot be exercised for a purpose other than for which it has been given and the report impugned simply does not constitute a forensic investigation.”

According to Vela some of the issues raised in the report happened before he was appointed as board chairperson.

Vela was sacked as board chairperson by then Public Service Minister Petronella Kagonye in March 2018.

He argues that in fact Nssa made significant achievements during his tenure as evidenced by the financial growth in surplus of 638% from $19,5 million in 2015 to $144,2 million in 2017.

“The growth in surplus was achieved through a tight management of operating costs. Over the same period, the authority saw a reduction in operating costs of 18% from $87,8 million to $72,4 million and experienced a growth in investment income of 137% from $22,8 million to just over $54 million in 2017,” said Vela.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has indicated it would want all those mentioned in the Nssa audit report questioned over their role in the rot.