NATIONAL Social Security Authority (Nssa) investments and properties director Brian Mrewa (pictured), who helped Public Service minister Paul Mavima to corruptly buy a US$400 000 house in Borrowdale, has reportedly skipped the border into South Africa to evade arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).
Mrewa is also involved in another fraudulent Kariba commercial property deal sold for US$215 000, although US$244 000 was taken out of Nssa for the same transaction.
Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo confirmed the development in an interview with The NewsHawks.
Nssa was established in 1989 as a statutory corporate body tasked by the government to provide social security.
Matanda-Moyo confirmed that the anti-graft body had received information that Mrewa had since skipped the border to South Africa.
“We are looking for the Nssa director Mr Mrewa over financial issues at his workplace but we heard that he has gone to South Africa. We are keen to interview him before we initiate court processes,” she said.
Moyo however refused to divulge more details regarding Mrewa’s case.
“My concern is that revealing additional information on the issue before we interview him might jeopardise our investigations. At this stage our major wish is to locate Mr Mrewa so that our investigators can engage him over financial issues at his workplace,” she said.
“It will be good for us to interview him before a docket can be prepared and sent to police for prosecution processes at the courts.”
The Zacc chair promised the nation detailed explanation on Mrewa’s financial issues at Nssa once he is located and interviewed by the anti-graft body’s investigators.
Last month, The Newshawks reported that Nssa suspended Mrewa over dodgy transactions involving properties in Harare’s leafy Borrowdale suburb and parts of Kariba.
Sources said Mrewa, who is the former chief investment officer at the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe, facilitated the buying and selling of those properties in shady circumstances which raised eyebrows.
This led to some of his colleagues raising a stink about the issue, which involves high-profile political figures.
“The reason Mrewa was suspended involves properties in Borrowdale in Harare and Kariba which were bought and sold under unclear circumstances, which suggests some underhand and corrupt activities,” a source said.
“This has caused internal ructions and demands for an investigation. Remember there are audits and different forms of investigations going on at Nssa due to many issues that have been raised. The issue involves some chefs (political bigwigs).”
Nssa’s general manager Arthur Manase was suspended over a dodgy US$750 000 housing loan which he got while he also simultaneously drew a housing allowance.
It added to Zanu PF factional battles which continue to filter through and find expression in government and state institutions, with the US$1.2 billion Nssa pension fund being one of the key battlegrounds.
The ruling party factions and their leaders always fight to control Nssa, as it gives them access to cheap funding and business deals for self-aggrandisement, as well as an opportunities to build war chests for their political battles.
In a bid to bring the situation under control at Nssa, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga when he was acting president last month, clipped the wings of Public Service minister Paul
Mavima by stopping him from removing senior executives at Nssa and replacing them with his allies, saying it violated good corporate governance.
Mrewa’s suspension over properties and subsequent pursuit by Zacc becomes the latest in a series of events which show that Nssa has deep-seated governance and corruption issues.
Nssa’s investment universe covers both commercial — retail and office — and industrial properties.
It says property investments are considered suitable only if there is reasonable assurance of valid title and are expected to generate adequate cash-flows at a rate of return acceptable to the schemes.
Nssa invests in real estate and other investments in good primary and secondary market locations. The authority has engaged in property development and financing across the commercial and industrial spectrum.
Further, Nssa also acquires fully developed or partially developed immovable property. In pursuit of its policy of investing in real estate, it may acquire land for future development.
The corporate body also invests in infrastructure development. However, Nssa, has a long history of corruption and looting.
In 2019, former Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira was charged for corruption involving US$95 million from the state pension fund.
The prosecution laid out charges ranging from alleged abuse of state pension fund money to finance Mupfumira’s political campaigning to directing investments of up to US$62 million into a bank against the advice of the pension fund’s risk committee.
In April last year, Mupfumira sought to halt the trial, seeking postponement of the case while blaming the magistrate for formulating a case against her.
In May 2022, Zacc invaded and camped at Nssa offices in Harare to investigate complaints of alleged malpractices, corruption, corporate governance failures and suspicious movements of senior officials at the statutory corporate body tasked by the government to provide social security.
Zacc investigators camped on the 10th floor of Nssa building where they were investigating, among other issues, corporate governance in critical departments that include audit, finance, investments, procurement and property in a bid to establish if corporate processes and procedures are being followed by the departments in executing their mandate.
After recent upheavals at Nssa, several executives and managers were shifted and some removed as those in charge sought to assert control amid corruption allegations.
Others became collateral damage, like David Makwara, corporate affairs director, who was suspended over a loan issue.
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