LAWYERS representing former National Social Security Authority (NSSA) chairperson, Robin Vela have challenged a warrant of arrest secured by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) over the alleged fraudulent award of a $16 million housing project tender.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Zacc had summoned Vela for questioning over the project awarded to Housing Africa Corporation (HAC) in 2017.
Vela’s lawyers, Chambati, Mataka and Makonese Attorneys said Zacc did not follow due process in their quest to have the businessman arrested.
“It is surprising that you have secured a warrant for arrest of our client in circumstances where we advised you that he is presently unavailable having travelled on business and that he would be back in the country on September 12, 2018, whereupon he will present himself at your offices,” the lawyers’ wrote to Zacc.
“For the record, Mr Vela had never deliberately and wilfully placed himself beyond the reach of the law. He has previously availed himself to authorities for purposes of investigation, a case in point being his attendance for an entire day at ZRP Anti-Corruption Unit at Morris Depot in Harare in the company of his lawyers.”
Vela was removed from the NSSA board early this year following the appointment of Petronella Kagonye as Labour minister in November last year.
Vela is accused of authorising engagement of HAC without due diligence, but the businessman was arguing that minutes of both NSSA’s procurement committee and the main board showed that a due diligence was done and security was provided as required by law.
Vela is also accused of favouring HAC ahead of other bidders, while minutes of the board state that all members had agreed to take responsibility of their decisions collectively.
“We, hereby, place you on notice of our instructions to have this warrant cancelled for irregularity,” the lawyers wrote to Zacc.
The lawyers said the warrant was also issued fraudulently as Vela had not been charged with any offence and had not been summoned to appear before any court of law to justify issuance its issuance.
It is alleged that he gave the directive to award HAC the project without going to tender.
HAC is led by businessman Adam Molai and was due to construct 250 housing units at a purchase price of $38 000 each and an offtake deposit of $16 million was supposed to be paid by NSSA.