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'Mugabe's labour minister blew US$400k NSSA funds on campaign'

by ZimLive
07 Aug 2019 at 17:21hrs | Views
Former public service, labour and social welfare minister Petronella Kagonye forced the National Social Security (NSSA) board to shell out US$400,000 to her political campaign, the former chairman of the state pension fund says in court papers.

Robin Vela, who is challenging the findings of a forensic audit into NSSA, made the claim in High Court papers to demonstrate that the auditors had produced an incomplete and biased report.

Vela wants the forensic audit report set aside.

"I must also point out that the report makes no mention of the fact that Kagonye forced NSSA to 'sponsor' to the tune of US$200,000 a disability conference in her Caladonia constituency and a further sum of US$200,000 to a school in Ruwa immediately prior to the July 2018 elections," Vela charges.

He implicates Kagonye, the ministry's former permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka and the then principal director Simon Masanga, who is now the ministry's permanent secretary.

Said Vela: "This vote buying, done through pensioners' funds for private benefit is not mentioned. Is it because the auditors had a wider political audience to satisfy or otherwise to not offend?"

Kagonye's predecessor Prisca Mupfumira, who is the current tourism minister, was arrested on July 25 charged with criminal abuse of office involving US$95 million of NSSA funds. She is accused of ordering NSSA to undertake risky investment transactions.

Mupfumira's arrest followed the release of the forensic audit carried out by BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants.

But Vela argues that a lot of the issues flagged by the auditors were explained in critical documents supplied to them, which they ignored.

He also argues that Auditor General Mildred Chiri, who commissioned BDO, went beyond her constitutional powers.

He says apart from reaching wrong conclusions and getting financial figures wrong, the auditors ignored certain actions by Kagonye and others which could also be construed as corrupt.

"The manner in which the investigators (BDO) went about their task speaks to their incompetence, which incompetence affects the outcome of the report… there is malice that permeates and pervades the whole report," Vela says.

Source - ZimLive