A DIRECTOR in the Finance ministry Fidelis Ngorora yesterday told chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi that Treasury did not approve former Public Service minister Priscah Mupfumira’s request to secure a loan from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to purchase personal motor vehicles.
BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
Ngorora said government was supposed to go through the formal procurement and that the request was unlawfully done.
Mupfumira is jointly charged for graft with former permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka, on two counts of criminal abuse of office.
She claimed that she got approval from Cabinet to secure a loan from NSSA to purchase the motor vehicles, but Ngorora told the court that it is only the Finance ministry which deals with financial matters.
Ngorora said Masoka wrote a letter to the Finance ministry seeking approval to secure a loan from NSSA for the procurement of the motor vehicles, but it was not approved since the government, through Treasury, was in the process of availing funds for the procurement of newly appointed ministers.
Government later purchased two motor vehicles for Mupfumira in March and August 2015 respectively.
“We only got to know that the duo had proceeded to acquire funds from NSSA when they requested funds to liquidate the debt. The request was not granted since it was inappropriate for them to borrow money from NSSA which was under their ministry as there was a possibility of a conflict of interest,” he said.
The State, led by prosecutor Tendai Shonhiwa, alleges that Mupfumira and Masoka secured US$90 000 from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and purchased personal vehicles.
The State also alleges that on another account, Mupfumira used State funds for air tickets and upkeep of her personal aides to attend her daughter’s wedding in South Africa.
The court has also set January 25, 2021 as trial date for Mupfumira on another case of criminal abuse of office in which she is jointly charged with Barnabas Matongere, former NSSA contribution and collections officer.
It is alleged that the duo paid US$3, 5 million to Drawcard Enterprises, a local land developing company towards the construction of low housing units in Gweru, in a project spearheaded by Mupfumira.