In particular, the NECI is questioning a share purchase by NSSA into Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company Star Africa Ltd at a US$2,5 million premium to market prices, beginning September 2009. The purchase, into a company analysts warned was declining, has now resulted in a more than US$14 million net loss, as the Star Africa share price has plummeted.
According to NECI’s report, an investigation into NSSA’s equity investments carried out between March 2009 and June 2010 revealed NSSA bought Star Africa shares at 12,5 US cents a share instead of the average 10 US cents per share then prevailing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE). NSSA Board chairman at the time, Albert Nhau, is said to have “negotiated the deal at his home and bought the shares from his friends.”
“NSSA Senior Management, notably Mr Matiza and the board chairman (Mr Nhau) should be held accountable for plunging the Authority into the purchasing of shares at a premium, yet the trend was that the share value was actually declining,” notes the report.
When the Star Africa scam was concluded in December 2009, NSSA reportedly lost US$2,5 million at the onset. However, the investment loss has since sky-rocketed to more than US$14 million following the continued plunge in the value of Star Africa shares on the ZSE. As at yesterday, Star Africa shares were trading at 0,7 US cents from 12,5 US cents upon purchase by NSSA in 2009, a nearly 1 700% loss.
According to NECI, NSSA could have bought the same shares at 10 cents or less through ZSE and saved pensioners’ money.NECI also suggested that in their defence Matiza and Nhau lied, saying “there is no proof at all that NSSA ever made a bargain at the 10 cents per share recommended by the investment analysts as claimed by senior management, the chairman and BancABC.”
This followed claims by NSSA management that their attempts to acquire the shares at US 10 cents each were turned down because there was an alleged competing bid at 12 cents per share.
NSSA has denied the allegations of corruption contained in the NECI report.