Zimbabwe: Ex-NSSA Boss Confronts Successor, Herald With $5 Million Defamation Suit

5 December 2019

Former National Social Security Authority (Nssa) board chairperson Robin Vela has confronted his successor, Cuthbert Chidoori with a $2, 5 million lawsuit for defamation after the latter caused publication of a story claiming the parastatal was losing more pensioners money.

Vela also sued The Herald deputy news editor, Africa Moyo for the same amount after he allegedly authored the story which was published on November 18 2019, bringing the total amount to $5 million.

The summons were filed separately and appearing as respondents on Moyo's lawsuit are William Chikoto, Herald acting editor and Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited popularly known as (Zimpapers).

He said the article quoted verbatim which is false, defamatory and misleading.

"The Herald article quoted verbatim and assortment of defamatory, false and misleading allegations made by the defendant (Chidoori) in respect of the predecessor board of directors of the National Social Security Authority which was chaired by the plaintiff (Vela).

"He said that Nssa made questionable investments under the watch of the plaintiff's board which investments prejudiced the interests of the pensioners.

"Chidoori said as a direct result of the questionable investments, the then Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Petronella Kagonye in February 2018 imposed a moratorium on investment which moratorium resulted in the value of US$150 million in cash holdings being eroded by inflation," reads part of the summons filed by Vela through his lawyers, Chambati, Mataka and Makonese Attorneys at Law.

Vela said Chidoori also accused him of not executing due diligence prior to making certain investments and that resulted in loss on some investments.

Chidoori is also being sued for allegedly saying that massive irregularities, some of which have turned out to be outright criminal, were perpetrated at Nssa while Vela's board was in charge.

He allegedly said that the rationale of the moratorium was to prevent the making of further investments that could be regarded as suspicious, criminal or just incompetent.

Reads the summons, "He said that during the tenure of Vela's board there were five key areas beset with serious irregularities namely information and communication technology, properties, investments, human resources and corporate governance. That during the tenure of Vela's board, a forensic report revealed that organisations and individuals within and outside Nssa plundered resources.

Vela said on November 25 this year, the newspaper, again published an article also written by Moyo titled "Nssa saddled with bills over idle ICT system."

In the article it was allegedly written that Vela's board procured an information technology system from Twenty Third Century Systems (TTCS) for US$10, 4 million which ICT system worked just for two years and is now lying idle.

The article also said that though the ICT system is not functional Nssa is still saddled with bills of up to US$10 million from TTCS.

Vela said all the statements Chidoori said were understood by readers to mean that he is a corrupt and incompetent person.

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