FORMER minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Prisca Mupfumira who is facing seven counts of criminal abuse of office has been denied bail by a High Court judge.
Mupfumira who was in detention for the past 21 days will not set foot out of remand prison as her application for bail was dismissed.
The former minister’s woes keep mounting, after her arrest and detention, she was fired from her ministerial position and this was immediately followed by her dismissal from the Zanu PF party structures, reducing her to a mere party card holder.
Charges against her are alleged to have emanated from the time she was serving as a minister of Public Service, Labour and Social welfare.
She allegedly prejudiced the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of more than USD$100 million which she is reported to have pumped into her personal businesses as well as in the party.
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.
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.
In total, NSSA was prejudiced of an estimated total of US$115 359 085.83.