Minister Mupfumira faces seven counts of criminal abuse of office

Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira is facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office all of which were committed when she was the minister of Public Service, Labour and Social welfare, prejudicing the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of money amounting to US$95 million.

Mupfumira was arrested on Thursday by a crack team comprising of members of the Military Intelligence Department (MID), Central Investigation Department (CID), Central Intelligence Officers (CIO), Zimbabwe Republic Police law and order and the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) on the instruction of the Zimbabwe Anti -Corruption Commission.

After spending the night in holding cells, she is set to appear before a Harare magistrate Friday morning for her initial appearance to answer to the corruption charges preferred against her.

Allegations are that in 2014, following her appointment as the minister of public service labour and social welfare, she intentionally acted contrary to her duties as a public officer  by verbally instructing the then permanent secretary in her ministry Ngoni Masoka to get a loan advance of USD$90 000 from NSSA.

NSSA being a parastatal under her ministry availed the loan advance which was intended for the purchase of her ministerial vehicle, a Toyota Landcruiser model ADX-0878 from Croco Motors as per her instructions.

It is alleged that Mupfumira allegedly did this regardless of the fact that NSSA had no provisions to issue such loans.

After the purchase of the Landcruiser, she went on to receive another ministerial vehicle, a Range Rover which was availed to her by government and she accepted it knowing well that she had already bought another one through the NSSA loan she was still servicing.

It is further alleged that sometime in 2016 and on different occasions and in the exercise of her functions as the minister, she intentionally acted contrary to her duties as a public officer by corruptly requesting for US$101 814.80 from NSSA’s corporate social responsibilities budget to use for activities believed to be advances to the parent ministry.

Mupfumira is alleged to have verbally directed NSSA outside of its mandate to set up a budget of US$350 000 for the ministry’s financial demands on top of the normal NSSA’s corporate social responsibility budget from where she later claimed a total of US$303 520.03 for her personal and political interests in her constituency in 2017.

In 2014, she allegedly showed favour to the Ozius Bvute led Metbank by instructing NSSA to financially bail out the bank against the representations and advice from NSSA’s risk management department highlighting concerns over the bank’s financial vulnerability and its high risk to default status and as a result of her influence, NSSA ended up purchasing four Metbank properties worth US$4 908 750 which they had not intended to purchase.

Reports are that in March 2017, she also showed favour to Metbank by directing NSSA to favourably consider an investment proposal for the bank for Command Agriculture in which the bank imposed itself as fertilizer advisors bypassing the advice of NSSA’s risk management department that the bank’s financial vulnerability highlighted high risk of default.

Metbank intended to borrow US$30 million from other sources and requested NSSA to provide it with double cover security in the form of treasury bills(TBs).

 As a result of Mupfumira’s influence NSSA sent TBs valued at US$62 250 000 to Metbank on custodial arrangements and Metbank ended up using treasury bills valued at US$37 035 000 under unclear circumstances and they are currently unaccounted for the prejudice of NSSA.

It is further alleged that sometime in June 2017, Mupfumira verbally directed NSSA represented by Kurauone Chihota the then NSSA Chief Property Investment Officer to enter into low cost housing projects contracts with Metbank within 48 hours and as a result of the directive NSSA entered into off-take housing projects for St-Ives and state land Chinhoyi with Metroreality an entity related to Metbank valued at US$6 145 000 and US$4 710 000 respectively without carrying doing due diligence assessment and without going to tender the prejudice of NSSA.

Sometime in August 2017, she verbally directed NSSA to enter into a contract with Drawcard private limited for a US$6 500 000 housing projects in Munyeza Gweru without going to tender nor board resolution.

In total, NSSA was prejudiced of a total of US$115 359 085.83.