Government Moves to Plug Nssa Loopholes

By Fidelis Munyoro
Government is putting in place systems to plug holes at the corruption-riddled National Social Security Authority (NSSA) following a forensic audit report which details underhand dealings at the State pension entity.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza said the whole NSSA system will be reviewed.

She defended the audit report, saying she did not doubt the credentials of Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri who commissioned the forensic report.

The report has since claimed the scalp of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira.

Mupfumira, who once headed the Public Service portfolio, is facing a slew of corruption charges running into millions of dollars.

“I do not doubt her (AG) choice of selection of the forensic auditors,” said Minister Nzenza of the report, whose validity is now being challenged at the High Court.

“What has come out in the forensic audit, as I have said before, is that there are five key areas of irregularities. Ones to do with corporate governance, human resources, investments, ICT and labour issues.

“In all those five, if there was any criminal misconduct, that is not the role of my ministry. That is the role of the anti-corruption (commission) to deal with.”

Minister Nzenza said her ministry was confined to dealing with issues within the human resources sector with the help of the management and the board to “look at those human resources labour issues within the country’s labour legislative framework”.

She said though they are revamping the entire NSSA system, there are challenges of the past which they have to deal with.

“The challenges had been identified by the forensic report, but what is really important is to look ahead, what are we can do going forward.

“What we can do is to ensure that we have good corporate governance, that we hold people accountable for their behaviour and that we are absolutely transparent. We also want to ensure that we develop trust with those who have entrusted us with the money.”

Mupfumira was arrested on July 25 and she faces seven counts of criminal abuse of office involving US$95 million from the state pension fund.

The alleged crimes took place while she was Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister between 2014 and 2018.

However, former NSSA board chairman Robin Vela, who is implicated in the colossal scam is challenging the incriminatory forensic audit report at High Court, arguing that it was part of a witch-hunt.

It is his contention that the NSSA board minutes and communication between board members showing that some of the marked deals were above board was ignored by the auditors.

Source : The Herald

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