A forensic audit into the operations of cash-rich National Social Security Authority (NSSA) could lead to the prosecution of former officials at the pay -as-you-go scheme after a government-sanctioned probe revealed misuse of public funds running into millions of dollars, it has been learnt.
NSSA has in the past rocked by a series of scandals ranging from imprudent investment decisions, poor corporate governance and management delinquency.
A forensic audit, which was undertaken by BDO Chartered Accountants covering the operations of NSSA during the paid between January 1,2015 and February 28, 2018 and is yet to be tabled before Parliament is understood to have exposed more scandals at the authority.
Sources at the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and NSSA told Business Times yesterday that the report exposed serious financial irregularities at NSSA.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Sekai Nzenza yesterday revealed that her ministry received the damning audit report and is reviewing it. The new NSSA board, led by Cuthbert Chidoori, has also received the report.
Nzenza also revealed that government has since roped in the Special Anti-Corruption Unit and a “team of lawyers” to work on the report for the country’s controversy-mired state-owned social security company.
Criminal charges, she said will be filed against those found on the wrong side of the law.
“The ministry is in receipt of the NSSA forensic Report which has also been placed before the NSSA board of directors for deliberations,” Nzenza said.
“We are in the process of reviewing the report and have engaged a team of lawyers to offer legal counsel after careful appraisal. We are also working closely with Special Anti-Corruption Unit on the matter.
“Legal Counsel shall properly collate the information to enable the board to decide the appropriate legal route to purse. Where the evidence warrants either criminal action or recovery through civil remedies, we shall pursue the same in the interest of justice.
“My role as the minister is to ensure the protection of the interests of the pensioners and other contributors who are covered by the social security schemes that NSSA has established,” she said.
NSSA, established 1989, in terms of the NSSA Act, has always been a source of controversy with a number of senior managers being fired over mismanagement of funds.
NSSA, which has investments across sectors, has seen its investments surpassing US$1 billion. But, the country’s social security company, has also been accused of making bad investments decisions.
Elizabeth Chitiga, the former general manager of NSSA was fired last year. She had replaced long-time NSSA boss, James Matiza who was fired in 2016. NSSA board of directors led by Robin Vela, was replaced by the one led by Cuthbert Chidoori.
Last month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised concern over the
quality of financial statements at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), some state-owned enterprises and local authorities as government commits to far-reaching reforms to contain public spending.
The multilateral lender which suspended funding Zimbabwe’s development programmes due to the country’s ballooning debt and arrears has been instrumental in providing technical support to government in ensuring that its accounting system complies with international best practice.