Graft-accused Biti not off the hook

06 Jun, 2021 - 00:06 0 Views
Graft-accused Biti not off the hook

The Sunday Mail

Sunday Mail Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is still investigating MDC-A vice president Mr Tendai Biti over allegations he instructed the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to deposit over US$30 million into two banks which later collapsed.

During his time as Finance Minister (2009-13), Biti reportedly directed NSSA to deposit the funds, which were secured from continental lender Afreximbank (African Export-Import Bank), into Interfin Merchant Bank and Renaissance Bank on separate occasions and under unclear circumstances.

At the time, Renaissance Bank was understood to be in distress.

He is also accused of instructing the banks to give the money to specific clients who were linked to members of a certain political party.

ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure told The Sunday Mail that investigators are pursuing the case.

“The matter is under investigation and we will make details available once we have completed the investigations,” he said briefly.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) placed Renaissance Bank under curatorship in 2011 after a probe revealed serious failings, including inadequate capitalisation, inappropriate structure and poor corporate governance.

In 2014, NSSA general manager Mr James Matiza told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts that Mr Biti directed the pension fund to sink US$20 million into the troubled Renaissance Bank despite indications the project was not viable.

He said NSSA turned down two requests by Renaissance Financial Holdings Limited’s majority shareholder, Mr Patterson Timba — brother to former MDC-T secretary for external relations Mr Jameson Timba — to get the authority to invest in his bank.

Mr Matiza was responding to findings by the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in her 2012 report, which unearthed several irregularities in NSSA’s financial affairs.

NSSA, he said, eventually invested in the bank after Mr Biti directed the authority to bail out the troubled institution.

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