Fungai Lupande, Harare Bureau
ANOTHER former National Social Security Authority boss Shadreck Vera yesterday appeared in court charged with fraud after he allegedly misled the pension fund into buying a property at a price inflated by $8 million.
Vera (46), who was the investment director at NSSA, appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.
He is facing fraud charges or alternatively criminal abuse of office as a public officer and was remanded to February 10 on $500 bail.
He was ordered to surrender his passport, report every Friday at CID Commercial Crimes and not to interfere with police investigations as part of his bail conditions.
Vera is represented by Mr Mazhindu Mutizirwa.
The court heard that Vera was a member of the NSSA board’s investments committee.
His accomplice, James Matiza, was the chairperson of the management investments committee.
Matiza has already appeared in court on similar charges.
In September 2014, NSSA secured stand No 19280 Celestial Park in Borrowdale, Harare, from Matay-Kingdom (Pvt) Ltd.
The court heard that before NSSA could buy the property, Vera, Matiza and properties manager, Patrick Chiduza, were expected to look for property valuators to establish its market value.
This was to enable NSSA to use a benchmark for price bargaining.
Chiduza is reportedly on the run.
Prosecuting, Ms Audrey Chogumaira alleged that NSSA obtained three valuation reports from Bard Real Estate which came up with a gross replacement cost of $29 million, forced value of $18 million and a market value of $24 million.
CB Richards Ellis came up with gross replacement costs of $24,354 million, forced value not given and a market value of $25,6 million.
Green Plan (Pvt) Ltd did not provide gross replacement value but a market price of $36 million.
The court heard that the three reports were to be presented to the board for adjustments before an agreement of sale was entered.
It is alleged that out of the three reports, Bard Real Estate was the most favourable and would give NSSA bargaining power.
Vera, Matiza and Chiduza allegedly concealed the Bard Real Estate report and referred the board valuations by CB Richard Ellis and Green Plan.
The court heard that the two reports were not costs effective and the board chose Green Plan.
It is alleged that by so doing the trio misrepresented to NSSA that the property was worth $36,5 million yet they knew that it was worth $24 million.
The property was eventually bought for $32 million after price bargaining, prejudicing NSSA of $8 million.
The corrupt activity was inconsistent with Vera’s duties as a public officer, the court heard.
The matter came to light on October 24 last year following an audit.