A Harare magistrate has received submissions to the effect that evidence from a key witness in the case of former National Social Security Authority (NSSA) boss Elizabeth Chitiga should not be considered as he was not employed by the authority.
The witness Silos Mukono is alleged to have had no encounter with Chitiga beyond one meeting they participated in hence his evidence could not hold much water or add value to the States case as he was not a reliable witness.
The submissions were made by Chitiga’s lawyer, Jonathan Samukange before Harare Magistrate Bianca Makwande who is presiding over the matter.
Allegations against Chitiga are that she abused her office as a public officer and swindled a $31 million pension fund in a housing project scam.
“The witness is not a NSSA employee and he only ever goes there on invitation hence he is not in any position to answer most of the questions because he knows nothing about how business is run or how affairs are handled at NASSA”. said Samukange
The matter was postponed to August 9 for trial continuation.
Allegations are that Chitiga’s accomplice James Tirivavi, who was a strategic executive assistant at NSSA, instructed National Building Society (NBS) to carry out projects in Dzivarasekwa (Harare), Chikanga Extension (Mutare), Shropshrine (Gweru), Lot 834 and 835 (Zvishavane) and Elsmond (Zvishavane) at a cost of $78 827 500, without following due process.
The bank had been given a mandate by the pensions authority to construct 10 000 low-cost housing units countrywide in September last year and a team led by head of housing projects, Silas Mukono, had identified 14 possible projects out of which they selected five – Victoria Range in Masvingo, Denver Township (Bulawayo), Mkoba (Gweru), Dulibadzimu (Beitbridge) and Emganwini Phase 4 (Bulawayo). The value of the project was $80 991 200. This was turned down by Tirivavi.
The State alleges on August 24 last year, in an effort to regularise directives to NBS, Chitiga and Tirivavi connived and misrepresented to the board investments committee that NBS required funding for five projects.
The board allegedly acted on the misrepresentation and approved funding for the projects totalling $78 827 500 on the understanding that due process had been done by both NSSA and NBS.
It is alleged that due diligence was done for only two of the five projects, and that Chitiga and Tirivavi’s actions potentially prejudiced NSSA of $31 727 500.