NSSA embroiled in $50m hotel scam

Beitbridge Rainbow Hotel

By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
21 February 2014

The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has become the latest public entity to be rocked by allegations of graft, after it emerged Friday that the authority is embroiled in a $50 million dollar scam.

Reports said the cost of a hotel built by NSSA in the border town of Beitbridge grew from $17m to $50m, in suspicious circumstances. The Herald said NSSA, which was awarded the $17m tender to build Rainbow Beitbridge Hotel on the basis that it had the money to finance the project, ended up using pensioners’ funds to hire a construction firm.

The development comes at a time when NSSA officials were due to appear before the parliamentary portfolio committee on public accounts next Monday to answer questions on other issues. But committee member Paurina Mpariwa told SW Radio Africa that the latest scam will be ‘top of the agenda.’

‘We have a number of issues to ask on Monday but after reading this latest story we have agreed that the issues it raises will be top of the agenda,’ said Mpariwa.
She added: ‘We want them to explain how the cost rose from $17m to $50m and how the lost monies will be recovered.’

But according to the report, NSSA General Manager James Matiza has said the contractor, Costain Zimbabwe, did a ‘shoddy job’ on the project forcing NSSA to contract another firm to correct things. All these setbacks led to further costs, claimed Matiza, who also said Costain was forced on them by the government because they submitted a low bid which in NSSA’s view was not consistent with the true cost of the project.

Beitbridge Town Council could also close the hotel because NSSA has failed to regularize documentation after an architect withdrew the designs over outstanding fees due to him.
Moreover NSSA cannot get a certificate of occupation for the hotel because the overseer of the project, hired by NSSA, cannot sign for it as she is an unregistered engineer. A temporary three month certificate issued by the Beitbridge Town Council expires this month.

NSSA is also reported to have issued itself with a completion certificate which certified that the hotel was ready for use. This is against procedure as the normal practice is that an architect should issue the certificate.

According to the Herald NSSA investment director Shadreck Vera sits on the Rainbow Tourism Group as a NSSA nominee, when at the same time the hotel group is paying the social security authority $14, 000 in monthly rentals for the lease of the property, something which raises conflict of interest issues.

These details come at a time when various public entities are under the spotlight due to all kinds of scams including ‘corrupt salaries’ awarded to the top executives.

2 Responsesto “NSSA embroiled in $50m hotel scam”

  1. Tiger Shona says:

    The difference between 50 and 17 million??
    These guys have no problem stealing from the nation.
    That is why we have a guy here calling himself Chimwido’s Warvet, defending these actions all the time.
    And I bet you some off these bucks might have ended up in his account.
    Common you coward, come forward with your real name!!!
    You are on the right side, so for now, you will not be touched.

  2. wilbert says:

    For the last 34 years Mugabe and his cronies have denied that there was corruption in Zimbabwe and they have very vehemently refuted that corruption – the odd occasion they were forced to admit that there was corruption – in anyway caused the country’s economic melt-down.

    The stories that have come out these last few months have not only put to bed the issue that was indeed corruption in Zimbabwe but that it was rampant and deep rooted corruption – the type that sucked all the
    profit and capital, the life and soul, out of the company. It is inconceivable
    how the companies and ultimately the national economy could be expected to prosper let alone survive such an unrelenting onslaught!

    Mugabe has allowed corruption to take root and thrive because that was the glue that held his party together. All these years Mugabe has denied there was corruption because he not only gained from it but it was what kept him and his cronies in power.

    The prospect of losing power was simply unthinkable for Mugabe and the Zanu PF dictatorship; they really are paranoid at regime change!

    Mugabe used brutal force to silence the people and usurp their political power to hold him and the Zanu PF dictatorship to account. With nothing to restrain them Mugabe and his cronies’ appetites for the good life have grown exponentially and with it the corruption. The economic melt-down was as logically and inevitable as a bacteria culture in a petri dish.

    Corruption has choked off all economic growth and with no loot for his cronies Mugabe cannot hold the party together. Corruption has held Zanu PF together but it was also proven to be the party’s undoing.
    Mugabe is not concerned that there is yet another rampant corruption story has broken out but that there is really nothing left for his cronies to loot, there is nothing left for him to bribe them with to buy their blind loyalty to him and the Zanu PF dictaroship!

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