By Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Social Security Authority (NSSA) has dragged its chief property investment officer to court on allegations of stealing $16 million in a botched property deal.
Kurauone Ndakashaya Francis Chihota (46) of Mandara was arraigned before Harare magistrate, Rumbidzai Mugwagwa facing fraud charges.
He was remanded in custody to Monday pending bail hearing.
According to court papers, sometime in 2016, NSAA set its target to delivering $8 000 housing units.
In May last, year, the accused acting in common purpose with former NSSA board chairperson, AdamMotal, Steven Duggan and Alec Nyatanga, the directors of Housing Cooperation Zimbabwe (HCZ) Pvt Ltd hatched a plan to defraud NSSA of $16 million.
It is alleged they presented a proposal called Housing Africa Cooperation (HAC) to one Robin Vela for the purported construction of the houses.
Vela submitted the proposal for consideration and processing.
HAC is purported to be a foreign company domiciled in Mauritius and is allegedly owned by Molai.
Upon receipt of the proposal, Chihota, without carrying out due diligence on the origin and status of HAC, recommended to the board for the $16 million project.
To cover up for the offence, the trio then formed HCZ.
Days after the contract was given to HAC by NSSA, the accused’s accomplices became the directors of HCZ.
The parties then arranged that HCZ was to initially construct 250 units at a purchase price of $38 000 and an offtake deposit of $16 million which was to be paid by NSSA.
Court heard Vela convinced the board the agreement was not subject to approval by the then state procurement board, hence the project did not go to tender.
NSSA then made the payment and Molai who was the signatory to the Ecobank account where the money was deposited then made various transfers to companies and personal bank accounts which had nothing to do with the project.
Only 53 houses were constructed instead of 250.
When NSSA made a follow up, the company was told that an additional $9 million was required to finish the job.
That is when it was discovered the trio had no capacity to deliver and a police report was made.
Ropafadzo Bostch appeared for the state.