THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) could have lost millions of pensioners’ funds after it purportedly bought a non-existent Chegutu farm from Philip Chiyangwa as new details emerge that the transaction was nullified by government as early as 2004.
by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Chiyangwa reportedly sold 526 hectares of land to NSSA in 2003 for Z$310 million (now valued at $3,5 million), but had failed to transfer ownership to the authority for the past 14 years, according to documents in NewsDay’s possession.
NSSA, feeling the heat after Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in her 2016 audit report revealed the authority had written off the asset in its books as it could not locate the land, later wrote to Chegutu Municipality seeking clarity on the matter.
A letter from Chegutu town clerk Alex Mandigo to NSSA dated June 13 this year said the land in question did not exist.
“It was further pointed out that the purported sale between Gabroc Enterprises and NSSA related to a non-existent piece of land referred to in your documents as ‘portions of Chegutu town land known as Hinton Ville’ or ‘near David Whitehead’. We have no record of such property in our jurisdiction and direct you to the Surveyor-General’s Office/Registrar of Deeds to ascertain the existence and location of such property,” part of the letter read.
The municipality further highlighted that the purported deal was null and void from the beginning and a government-instituted inquiry in 2004 said the same.
“With respect to this transaction, it was brought to the attention of NSSA that the transaction was thoroughly investigated by government and results of the investigation concluded that the transaction was illegal and therefore null and void at both law and policy,” it added.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Mandigo said: “I have nothing to say on the matter.”
Chiyangwa and NSSA chairman Robin Vela were not immediately available for comment.
Local Government ministry said it was aware of the unravelling land issue as it was briefed of developments in a memo titled “July 25, 2017 Report on NSSA-Gabroc-Chegutu Municipality 526ha Issues,” from Chegutu town clerk to the ministry’s permanent secretary George Mlilo.
“Having perused the documentation primarily made available to the municipality by Chiyangwa’s officials, save for the investigation report by the ministry, the following points are quite apparent: The disposal of the contentious 526ha by council was certainly irregular in the sense that provisions of section 152 of the Urban Councils Act were not adhered to hence the condemnation of the transaction as null and void by the government investigating team,” the report read.
“In all the papers cited, the piece of land is differently named as Hintonville Extension, Hintonville Extension South, or just 526ha without proper identification of same and, to the extent one could argue that if NSSA and/or Gabroc cannot legally identify the piece of land that they purport to have purchased, they may as well be treated as having purchased nothing as the transaction could be treated as merely bogus.”