Bribes, kick-backs in NSSA property acquisitions

Some of the properties acquired under suspicious circumstances include Ballantyne Park Shopping Centre, Dominion Building and Survey House which were bought at exorbitant prices amid allegations of bribes and kick-backs.

In the case of the purchase of Ballantyne Park, NECI’s investigations revealed that NSSA chairman Albert Nhau instigated the purchase  from Dennis Green and his wife Sandra who were his personal friends and business associates over a 10-year period during which they gave each other loans.

“Given his long-standing relationship with the Greens, good corporate governance and ethics would have required Mr Nhau to recuse himself of the dealings between his friends, the Greens and NSSA,” NECI concluded. 

Further, the property was bought for US$2,2 million while an independent evaluation had put it at US$1,5 million.

Approached for comment, Nhau refused and accused the paper of failing to contact him from the outset.

“You should have called me before the two articles you wrote earlier. I have got absolutely nothing to say,” he said before switching off his phone.

NSSA Management said that instead of buying the property, the authority was made to buy shares in Ballantyne Park (Pvt) Ltd, a company that owned the building, and yet did not acquire a majority shareholding in the company. Ironically, the amount they paid for the 33% shares was enough to buy the property on its own.

Other irregularities extended to the purchases of Survey House and Dominion House, also known as Chibuku House. In both instances, NSSA controversially switched agency from Bard House to Raydon Properties despite the fact that the former had worked on the deal since 2006.

The transfer proved costly after NSSA paid US$3 million, up from the agreed price of US$2,5 million. In the case of Survey House, NSSA hadto fork out a further US$20 000 in agency fees to Raydon.

NSSA embarked on the Marondera Housing Project where the contractor, Charuma Blasting and Earth Moving Services, allegedly took more than four years to complete what should have been eight months’ work amid claims that delays were deliberate “in order to keep on pumping money from NSSA for their selfish needs”.

NSSA also bungled a deal on the construction of a hotel in Beitbridge after Matiza and the State Procurement Board (SPB) awarded the tender to Costain, a company which lacked the resources and capacity to undertake the project.

Costain breached its contractual obligations to procure its own goods for the construction and requested NSSA to procure the necessary materials on its behalf. NECI concluded that the tender process had not been thoroughly carried out, resulting in Costain winning simply because they submitted the cheapest bid at US$17 375 427, even though they lacked the capacity to implement.

The report says directors allocated themselves NSSA stands and loans funds to build  houses.

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