A TEAM of detectives from the police Commercial Crimes Unit yesterday raided National Social Security Authority (Nssa) offices and interviewed several employees in connection with a US$78 million housing scandal in which funds were released to individuals and companies for the construction of houses in Harare without going to tender.
The crack team quizzed several people and according to sources close to the investigations they are also keen to interview former Nssa board chairperson Robin Vela and general manager Elizabeth Chitiga on the issue.
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba confirmed to this newspaper yesterday that the police carried out interviews at Nssa offices.
“Members of the police force visited Nssa as part of ongoing investigations of a matter that is already in the courts,” she said.
This week former strategic executive assistant to Chitiga, Tirivavi Chiuta appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court facing charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly handpicked five companies to construct houses worth over US$78 million without following due processes.
It is the State’s case that Chiuta connived with Chitiga and handpicked their own five projects with an estimated cost of US$78 827 500 without seeking authority from the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
It is alleged Chiuta directed NBS to implement the five projects through an email dated August 24 2017.
These projects were 1 000 houses to be built by Hydraben Company in Victoria Range, Masvingo, at a cost of US$23,2 million, and 200 houses in Bulawayo worth US$4,64million by Denver Investments, 750 houses in Mkoba, Gweru at a cost of $17,4 million by Hunde Trust, 725 houses in Dulibadzimu, Beitbridge, at a cost of US$16,82 million by Forit and 816 houses in Emganwini worth US$18,9 million by Bulawayo City Council.
The five projects that had been hand-picked by Chiuta and Chitiga failed to pass the verification process, as their respective land had ownership disputes.
N-Frasys (Private) Limited and Globeny Construction (Private) Limited had disputes on land ownership and they had to settle the disputes using funding from NBS for US$424 426 and US$1,5 million, respectively.
The State alleges that two contractors have not yet fulfilled their contractual obligation. Chiuta and Chitiga allegedly further awarded N-Fresys and Globeny Construction projects in Zvishavane at a cost of US$31 727 500 without the consent of the land developer, thereby, exposing public funds. — Staff Writer.