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Robin Vela says audit report 'biased’ and 'incomplete’

by ZimLive
05 Aug 2019 at 14:36hrs | Views
The report of a forensic audit into alleged corruption at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) is "biased, incomplete and targeted", the pensions body's former board chairman Robin Vela has claimed.

The audit report, presented to Parliament last Friday, has seen the former public service, labour and social welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira being arrested on corruption charges, accused of leaning on NSSA to make risky investments running into US$95 million.

But Vela, who was fired as NSSA board chairman in March 2018 over claims he was not resident in Zimbabwe and held a foreign passport, says BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, the audit firm appointed on behalf of Auditor General Mildred Chiri to probe the pensions body, ignored crucial documents in what he maintains was a targeted witch-hunt.

Transactions with MetBank, which features prominently in the audit report, were above board and made with board approval, Vela says. Yet he says auditors completely ignored key documents provided to them to reach certain conclusions.

"We're launching a formal court challenge to declare the report grossly delinquent, biased, incomplete and targeted," Vela is quoted as saying by The Standard.

MetBank, which prosecutors say in Mupfumira's case was favoured, is also threatening to go to court.

A lawyer for the bank said the audit report was "biased and malicious". All the issues in the audit report, the bank says, are subject to ongoing civil litigation at the High Court of Zimbabwe.

The audit report accused Mupfumira of directing investments of up to US$62 million into MetBank against the advice of the pension fund's risk committee.

Mupfumira is also accused of leaning on the pension fund to enter into property deals with the same bank worth US$15.7 million.

Mupfumira, who is currently the Tourism Minister, was labour minister between 2014 and 2018, when she oversaw the state pension fund.

MetBank says it has money markets investments with NSSA dating back to 2011. Vela was not appointed board chairman until 2015.

Source - ZimLive