Corruption Commission probes Biti over $30 million scandal

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 01, 2018 MDC Alliance Spokesperson Tendai Biti speaks during a press conference during which he announced that Zimbabwe's opposition parties are calling for electoral reforms ahead of the July 30 general elections and that there will be street demonstrations in the capital Harare on June 5. Senior Zimbabwean opposition figure Tendai Biti was arrested as he tried to flee to neighbouring Zambia to seek asylum, his lawyer said on August 8, 2018. Biti allegedly faces charges for inciting violence over the disputed result of last week's elections. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANA

THE country’s anti-graft body is investigating allegations that opposition MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti instructed the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to deposit $30 million into the now-collapsed ReNaissance Bank (RNB).

The transaction reportedly occurred when Biti was finance minister during the Government of National Unity (2009-2013).

According to the corruption busting agency, Biti directed that funds secured from continental lender, Afrexim Bank, be deposited into institutions linked to the opposition, including RNB which was then known to be in fatal distress.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) investigations chairman Godson Nguni confirmed the probe at a press briefing in Harare Wednesday.

Addressing journalists at Commission’s Harare offices Nguni said Biti would be arrested soon when they are done with investigation.

“We are investigating money that came from Afrexim Bank and then somebody in the Finance Ministry during the Government of National Unity (GNU) directed that this money should be directed to specific clients who were linked to members of a political party,” Nguni told journalists.

“And now the banks gave this money without any security; we are talking of millions of dollars. Now because the bank was troubled, distressed the money has gone down the drain.”

ZACC official Goodson Nguni

He added; “We are following up on those people who authorized money to be given to Interfin merchant bank and who were given those money.

“We are following on money, $30 million, that was deposited by NSSA into ReNaissance Bank.”

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) placed the RMB under curatorship in 2011 after investigations revealed several failings, including inadequate capitalisation, inappropriate structure and poor corporate governance.

According to Nguni, former NSSA general manager James Matiza told Parliament that he was instructed by Biti during the Government of National Unity to deposit $30 million into the bank.

“They knew that the bank was distressed and was about to be closed, so $30 million was taken down the drain and we are following up on the prosecution and the arrest of people very, very soon,” said the ZACC official.

The anti-graft body is looking at, generally, all investments by NSSA in the last 10 years from the time of the GNU to make sure that “we recoup the money of the pensioner that was invested by NSSA executives”.

Source: New Zim