NEW Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) chair Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo faces her first big test over allegations of wrongdoing involving her husband, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo.

Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s forensic report into plundering of the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) implicated Fernhaven Investments, a military-owned company where Moyo, a retired army major-general, is a director.

Now Zacc, which has already arrested former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality minister Prisca Mupfumira over allegations in the auditor-general’s report, faces the prospect of investigating the husband of its head.

When Matanda-Moyo was appointed to lead Zacc in July, she said she would not interfere with any investigation to do with her husband.

Zacc chair Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo

Questioned by the Sunday Times on Thursday over the allegations against Fernhaven in the forensic report, she said: “As I said before, I can’t be involved in such cases in any way.”

Moyo is a key power broker in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime and announced the military action that led to former President Robert Mugabe stepping down from power in November 2017.

Chiri’s report says Africom, a telecommunications company in which the army owns 51% through Fernhaven, borrowed US$15 million from AfrimexBank, but failed to service the loan.

Nssa, as a minority (4,5%) shareholder in Africom, became the sole guarantor of the loan in December 2013 despite misgivings from its board.

Fernhaven indemnified Nssa by providing security for the loan in the form of Longcheng Plaza shopping mall in Harare, which was built by Chinese firm Anhui Foreign Construction Corporation for an estimated US$200m.

Africom persistently defaulted on the loan and in 2015, Afrimex demanded money from Nssa, which made payments to the bank.

According to Chiri’s report, however, Nssa should have demanded the money from Fernhaven, since the company had provided its property as surety.

“As per indemnity agreement, Nssa should have foreclosed on the Fernhaven-pledged Longcheng property in order to raise the money to settle the debt,” the report said.

Allegations in Chiri’s report, based on a three-year investigation by BDO Zimbabwe Chartered Accountants, have already led to the arrest of Mupfumira in relation to the plunder of Nssa during her tenure as Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister between 2014 and 2017. She will appear in court next week on fraud charges involving US$95m.

sunday times