A SCHEDULED forensic audit into the goings-on at the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) has taken a new twist after Auditor-General Mildred Chiri wrote to an audit firm contracted to carry out the job to immediately respond to claims that it was conflicted, it has been established.
This comes amid nasty accusations and counter accusations between parliamentary portfolio committee chairman on Mines and Energy Temba Mliswa and former Nssa chairman Robin Vela over alleged corruption at the social security agency.
Last month, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office received a dossier from Mliswa on alleged corruption at Nssa.
The Nssa corruption dossier, titled The Abuse and Capture of National Social Security Authority, relates a series of alleged corruption activities, including the authority’s role in funding a local commercial bank without following due processes.
The report says government could have lost millions of dollars in the alleged corrupt activities.
It names senior government officials and private sector players who allegedly benefitted from corrupt deals.
Last week, Mliswa escalated his fight by writing to Chiri, warning that BDO Zimbabwe auditors, which had been tasked to carry out a probe on Nssa, had been conflicted.
This immediately prompted Chiri to write to BDO Zimbabwe.
Chiri further wrote to Mliswa informing him that she would apprise the lawmaker and parliament once BDO Zimbabwe responds.
“I am writing to advise that I am in receipt of a letter from Hon.
Temba P. Mliswa (MP) in which he is expressing reservations about your firm’s involvement in the forensic audit of NSSA.
Details relating to the concern are contained in his letter, which is attached.
Could I please have your comments at your earliest convenience,” Chiri wrote in a letter dated May 17.
Mliswa, in a letter to Chiri, claimed that the senior partner at BDO Zimbabwe, Ngoni Kudenga, had a personal relationship with Vela and this would compromise the audit.
Chiri and Mliswa’s letters were copied to Vice-Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi; Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi; Labour and Social Welfare minister Petronella Kagonye; Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu; Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Phillip Valerio Sibanda; Prosecutor-General Ray Goba; Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga; Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission; and Central Intelligence Organisation boss Isaac Moyo, among other senior officials.
“I wish to register my grave concern at the appointment of BDO Zimbabwe as the auditors for the forensic audit scheduled to take place at Nssa.
My concern stems from the close personal relationship enjoyed between the former chairperson of Nssa Mr. Robin Vela and the CEO of BDO Zimbabwe, Mr. Kudenga, that may have the propensity to prejudice investigations,” Mliswa wrote in a letter dated May 14, 2018.
“They are in the same audit firm that were involved in the allegedly shady Tetrad/Interfin tripartite transaction amonst other transactions that further sheds doubt on the capacity of BDO Zimbabwe to operate in an uncompromised manner.
I therefore propose that in order to obtain a fair and credible audit, a totally independent audit firm may be urgently appointed, or that the forensic audit at Nssa be delayed slightly whilst investigations into the alleged misconduct are made.”
Vela, who had been mentioned in a dossier that Mliswa sent to Mnangagwa, hit back at the lawmaker early this month, accusing him of demanding a bribe from him.
He also accused Mliswa of trying to influence Nssa in appointing a woman he has children with.
“Interestingly, the author (of the dossier-Mliswa) does not talk about the pressure he put on minister Mupfumira to appoint the mother of his two children, Ms Cynthia Mugwira, as the Nssa group legal and corporate secretarial executive on the basis of gender,” Vela said.
“It is a fact that Ms Mugwira was not shortlisted as a candidate by the recruitment committee because she was not qualified having only obtained a 3rd class degree in law, following repeated failings in numerous basic key subjects, and not having any job experience at such level in any organisation let alone one of the size or standing of Nssa.”
Foreign investor Noel Hayes, who was accused by Mliswa of insider trading, has also dismissed the claims, saying all his investments in Zimbabwe were above board.