Vela ‘walks the talk’

National Social Security Authority (NSSA) board chairperson, Robin Vela has said he will, before end of this year, step down from all company boards, where the authority has an interest in to avoid conflicts of interest and promote good corporate governance.
In a NSSA 2017 second quarter performance report released yesterday, Vela said his decision to step down was made to remove the perception that some of NSSA’s investee companies were not treated fairly and equitably.

“NSSA continues to hold itself and its investee companies to account, as objectively demonstrated by its recent actions at ZB Financial Holdings Limited, CBZ Holdings Limited, and other not widely publicised actions. In seeking to continue to ‘walk the talk’ and ensure that all NSSA’s investee companies are treated equally, Robin Vela (as chairman of NSSA) will voluntarily step down from the board of directors of all companies in which NSSA has an interest,” he said, referring to himself in third person.

“Including, FBC Holdings Limited, First Mutual Holdings Limited, First Mutual Wealth Limited, and FBC Reinsurance Limited. To ensure a smooth hand over, due notice and a clear responsibility cut-off date, the resignations will be effective on December 31, 2017.”

NSSA has often been accused of not being transparent enough, with some of the companies it holds stakes in.

This includes the alleged rejection of a 36c bid for the authority’s CFI Holdings shares only to accept a bid for the same shares at 10,55c from Stalap Investments (Private) Limited which the body explained was a restructuring not a sale as was believed.

Another area of concern was the NSSA land, which was reported as having “disappeared” in Chegutu.

Vela said it was unfortunate that at the time the 2016 annual financial audit was concluded, the Chegutu Town Council could not find the record of this purchase, prompting the recommendation to write down the land in NSSA’s balance sheet.

The land costs $3,4 million, while its value has grown to $15 million.

Another questionable NSSA deal involved its decision to manage the now defunct Beitbridge Hotel project without the relevant project management skills.
Also, back in April, the Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies questioned NSSA’s motives when it set up the National Building Society (NBS), instead of investing in existing building societies.

In NSSA’s recently released 2016 financial year results, directors were reported to have received higher fees for the period recording a 16,8% increase to $884 858 in the period under review from $736 162 in the 2015 comparative period.–newsday