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Govt reinstates auditor general

Mildred Chiri
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GOVERNMENT has clandestinely brought back auditor general, Mildred Chiri, who was unceremoniously dismissed from her job in July, triggering a furore from the legislators.

Chiri told The Financial Gazette last week that she was back at work.

She, however, refused to discuss the issue, indicating that she was in discussions with her employer.

“Yes I am back at work, but I can’t comment at the moment because we are still talking,” Chiri said on the sidelines of a Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) meeting held in the capital.

The Financial Gazette visited the auditor general’s office on Thursday last week and was informed by officials that Chiri was back at work.

Chiri’s personal assistant confirmed she was at work but was out of office for a presentation at an education symposium.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, abruptly ended Chiri’s employment in July, a move which outraged lawmakers from both the ruling party and the opposition.

Chinamasa planned to replace Chiri, government’s top auditor since 2004, with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) general manager, Mike Ndudzo.

But Members of Parliament from across the political divide rejected the appointment, and questioned the logic of dismissing Chiri who had acquitted herself very well in her job.

They argued that Ndudzo had failed at IDC, a wholly government owned investment company, and that several subsidiaries were on the brink of collapse.

Section 310 (1) of the Constitution stipulates that the auditor general is appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.

Sources at IDC told The Financial Gazette that Ndudzo, who has headed the IDC since 1991, had retired from IDC to take up the new job.

Efforts to get a confirmation from Ndudzo were futile as his mobile phone continuously went unanswered.
IDC spokesperson, Derrick Sibanda, told The Financial Gazette when asked if Ndudzo had left the organisation: “He is away, that’s all I can say.

“I can’t tell you when he will be back at work. It’s something private. He did not disclose when he will be back at work. Talk to him to get the information that you want.”

Chiri has over the past few years released explosive audit reports highlighting fraud, corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government ministries and departments, State enterprises, local authorities and statutory funds.

Her latest report, released in June this year, was also critical of the Office of the President and Cabinet, which she said had mismanaged statutory funds under its purview, including the District Development Fund, as well as mishandling tenders.

Chiri was appointed as comptroller and auditor general on February 24, 2004.

On her appointment, she managed to clear an audit backlog, dating back to 2000.

She holds a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Zimbabwe and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries.

She is also a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA).

She is a registered public accountant.

Chiri joined the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General as an audit assistant in 1983.