Govt to audit Covid-19 donations

Mildred Chiri

Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri is taking stock of all donations and resources directed towards Covid-19.

Mrs Chiri has ordered all Government  departments to furnish her with details and she is keen to ensure watertight safeguards are in place.

The audit will establish how records of Covid-19 donations are managed.

Local companies, individuals, friendly countries and development partners flocked to help Zimbabwe in its fight against Covid-19 and they were promised that everything would be accounted for.

In an interview, Mrs Chiri said she was now waiting for responses from the relevant departments including the Ministries of Local Government and Public Works; Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Health and Child Care.

“We are waiting for the responses of these ministries on the issues we raised. Once we get the information we will study them, where we will look at issues of corporate governance, the control mechanism, and what is it that needs to be done,” said Mrs Chiri.

“Our desire is not to conduct a witch-hunt, but to assist Government so that it does not unnecessarily lose resources. We will write to them on our observations, where we feel requires improvement.

“We will be looking at such issues as control systems, whether they are strong or weak, at how are records of Covid-19 donations administered, at the distribution of such donations. So it is a whole package. It is a systems audit to ensure that there is enough control mechanism in handling the donations. The idea being to improve and ensure value for money given that we are still in a pandemic and every donation counts regardless of how huge or small.”

Mrs Chiri said her previous work on State entities had been post-expenditure audits and she wanted to ensure that systems are watertight.

She said the audit was delayed due to the national lockdown.

“There is a Government circular directing that departments can increase their staff complement from 15 percent to 40 percent. That is what we are now doing and we are sure the situation will improve. This will also go a long way in dealing with not only audit of Covid-19 donations, but other audits with respect to other entities,” said Mrs Chiri.

Zimbabwe has been ranked number 102 by the World Health Organisation in fighting the pandemic.

The rankings were crafted in such a manner that countries in the single digit category did not do well in fighting the pandemic, while those with double digits did better and those with three digits did well.

Countries that recorded the most deaths and infections such as the United States, Britain and Italy are in the single digit category.

President Mnangagwa said WHO had ranked countries according to how they were faring with regards to the impact and mitigation of the pandemic

He said this last week when he received an assortment of donations from companies and organisations under the banner, “Iam4Byo-Fighting Covid-19.”

Gold producer How Mine donated a fully-equipped borehole, with the US diaspora donating 16 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, Edgars Stores chipped in with 400 sets of linen, the Hindu Society donated 100 mattresses and pillows, and Treger Group came in with fitted kitchens.

CBZ also donated $1 million, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) donated ICU and high dependency beds (HDU) while BOC Gases cancelled the hospital’s previous debt and further donated an oxygen tank for piped oxygen.