By Alois Vinga
THE National Social Security Authority’s (NSSA) general manager, Arthur Manase, is fighting tooth and nail to maintain his hold onto the authority’s helm in the midst of deep corruption scandals which took place under his watch, an insider at the parastatal has alleged.
Manase is at the centre of corruption allegations involving the plunder of funds at the institution amid claims that he received a US$750,000 housing loan and continues to receive a monthly US$2,500 housing allowance to service the loan despite the fact that he already owns a house.
Sources at the corruption embroiled institution have since alleged that the top executive received five luxury vehicles.
Other top line executives are said to have received loans ranging from US$60,000 to US$100,000 as well as the latest Land Rover Discovery vehicles.
The entire NSSA board recently took a luxurious vacation in Kenya, Mombasa, which was branded as a strategic training retreat to improve services for pensioners amid reports of controversial restructuring of influential positions to line up his pockets.
A highly placed source privy to boardroom deliberations at the state-owned pension scheme told NewZimbabwe.com that all is not well for the authority’s top executive who is facing intense pressure from a section of the board to vacate office.
“Instructions for investigations into the allegations and suspension of Manase were sent through the board chairperson last month. The Labour Ministry also wrote to the Board Chair to commence a forensic audit and suspension,” said the insider who did not want to be identified.
“The board chair even wrote the suspension letter last month, but Manase, who had initially agreed to leave and even offered to resign at one point, then changed his mind, and now says only President Emmerson Mnangagwa can order him to go on suspension or resignation,” the source said anonymously.
The source also alleged that despite the resistance, a new acting general manager is set to be appointed soon.
The developments come against a background where the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) has confirmed initiating investigations into the allegations at NSSA.
Manase did not responded to phone calls nor WhatsApp messages sent to him over the developments.
NSSA spokesperson, Tendai Mutseyikwa, also denied the allegations without giving detailed explanations.
“That’s incorrect. He (Manase) is at work,” he said.
Quizzed on the plans to replace Manase, the NSSA spokesperson also declined to provide finer details.
“Hi. I’ve been away since Tuesday. Where has the incumbent gone?” he said.
A key stakeholder in NSSA, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo, also raised concerns over the manner in which investigations are being conducted at the authority.
“The information that we have gathered so far is that ZACC did visit NSSA in June and were able to interview management. However, the information has not been corroborated by those sitting at the board and we are still to get more information regarding the goings on.
“What we have not yet done is to officially request the Ministry that administers the scheme to provide the details. We are very anxious, as representatives of the constituency that is contributing to NSSA, to know exactly what is taking place within the scheme,” said ZCTU)secretary general Japhet Moyo.
Contacted for comment and quizzed on progress into the investigations concerning the rot at NSSA, ZACC spokesperson, John Makamure, said that progress had been made without shedding more details.
“There has been tremendous progress. That is all I can say for now,” he said.