BY OBEY MANAYITI/Nhau Mangirazi
Senior executives and board members at a number of parastatals have been siphoning money from the struggling state-owned institutions, Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri has revealed.
Chiri’s annual report, released on Friday, raised a red flag over unauthorised expenditures at the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), among others.
At Zinara the audit unearthed evidence of unauthorised allowances that were paid to board members whenever they attended workshops and other non-board committee meetings.
The same happened at Zimparks where the AG noted that the authority incurred $11 421 for the installation of Wi-Fi at an individual board member’s residence without the approval of the parent ministry.
At Transmedia, the AG noted that transport allowances given to employees were not being taxed.
Some cases boiled down to sheer negligence at some parastatals such as GMB, which lost an inventory worth $74 219 through forged maize purchase and depot-to-depot transfer documentation at some depots.
The Tobacco Research Board might have lost almost $26 000 as the current fees and sitting allowances paid to board members did not get ministerial approval as per the law.
At the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC), the former executive director earned salaries and allowances from both the Salary Service Bureau and ZYC for three months in 2012, getting away with an unsanctioned $5 126.
Allied Timbers had eight bank and EcoCash accounts which were not registered under the company’s name.
Chiri said Petrotrade bought land in Epworth but when physical checks were done, it was discovered that people had already built structures in the area.
It was also revealed that Petrotrade had no title deeds and agreement of sale for the stand in question.
In a clear case of incompetence, funds meant for old people and other vulnerable persons were not disbursed to the beneficiaries.
The Primary and Secondary Education ministry’s almost $6 million for Curriculum Development and Technical Services was diverted for other purposes.
Meanwhile, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) said heads must roll over the scandal.
“It is saddening to note that funds meant to acquire learning materials were diverted at a time when our schools are battling to secure learning material for the new curriculum,” ARTUZ said.
“The drive towards inclusive access to quality education is derailed by such uncouth conduct by our government officials.
“Deterrent measures must be instituted to ensure that we enhance efficient resource expenditure in government departments.”
Chiri also said she was concerned about lack of coordination between the Finance ministry and various ministries before direct payments were made with insufficient documentation.
There were also concerns over some ministries processing payments that were not adequately supported by documentary evidence.
In her report, Chiri said $7 280 598 was paid without adequate supporting documents making the accuracy and validity of the expenditure incurred questionable.
Other ministries made unauthorised transfers of funds amounting to $381 291 118 from the sub-paymaster general account to public entities, but there were no supporting documents.