ZINARA audit report- what MPs said

Edwin Mushoriwa

HON. MUSHORIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.  I stand to give my voice in terms of the report which is before the House.  Mr. Speaker Sir, let me start by acknowledging the work that was done by the Public Accounts Committee chaired then by Hon. Tendai Biti.  The process of coming up with this report and the process of getting the enquiry into ZINARA was not an easy task.  It is a process that took a lot of time, a lot of months and there was a lot of fights from the Executive side, also the delays by Hon. Minister of Transport to present the forensic report.  There was non-cooperation by ZINARA executives.  There was non-cooperation from those companies that benefited from the public resources and also Mr. Speaker Sir, even the process of coming up with this report took a longer time even in terms of people putting a lot of work.

The secretariat at Parliament played a significant role and I just want to put on record our gratitude also to the former Chairperson whilst we are welcoming the new chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.  Mr. Speaker, the situation that prevailed at ZINARA was one typical case of a fund that was abused.  First and foremost, if you look into the ZINARA, the way it came about, I think there was no proper planning in terms of how that fund was supposed to be managed. The legislation was there but if you then look on the qualifications of the people that were managing ZINARA, none of them including the managing director had a proper qualification, not a degree or diploma. In fact you will be shocked to know that the Finance Director had only one qualification. The qualification was a Bible Certificate from Ezekiel Guti’s College, nothing else. This was the person that was supposed to be the Finance Director to oversee millions, not only of RTGS but millions of US$. The end result was looting of public funds in an unbelievable manner. This is the reason why I fully support that ZACC should actually get in and let justice prevail.

There are certain things where women at ZINARA every week would go to have their hair done at Red Rose and other salons, including the gentlemen, they had the benefits. The executives had fully paid gym equipment at their houses but again they were being paid for their gym membership at other gyms.

The worst case goes to the issue of contracts that were being awarded at ZINARA. Contrary to its mandate, ZINARA’s job was supposed to collect the money and give it to local authorities so that they do the work, but what we saw was a clear pattern of people that were connected to the people that were working at ZINARA that were benefiting from these monies. If you read the forensic report and you see the people that benefited from the contracts, if you then go to the roads that they purport to have done, it leaves a lot to be desired. One company would go to Harare VID and put their graders and then they are given monies to erect the hill start facility. Before they even finish that job they would be awarded another contract to do another job at Victoria Falls VID using the Harare experience and yet there was no work done. They were just getting money for nothing.

After having taken the money from ZINARA, the directors of these companies would then go on to liquidate their companies. We cannot allow people to benefit from public resources. People that we think are business people are in reality great looters siphoning money from the unsuspecting public.

If you look at the contracts that ZINARA had with Univen, you may be aware Univen now has got a contract on tollgates, vehicle licences, road transit and fuel levy. What they simply did was to come up with a laptop and software and ask Government to give them close to 21% of the revenues. Hon Raidza mentioned 16%, but it is 16% of the gross which in reality ZINARA has not been getting sufficient resources. No wonder if you look at each and every road, you see potholes.  Sometimes we blame politicians that they are looting but there are certain people that are not elected, people that are hiding in offices, those are the greatest looters. One of the contracts with Univen in terms of supplying graders, it was the ZINARA executives who were witnesses to Univen. If you have such a scenario where you have your directors who are supposed to represent the public and safeguarding the purse appear to be witnesses and agents of the other party to the contract, then that tells you there is actually disaster.

The Hon Minister of Transport needs to come to this august House within a specified period that is said in the report to simply say is ZINARA the best way for us to go in terms road maintenance. I am saying this, given the devolution agenda that we now have. It is now time that we need to say let the funds be devolved and let local authorities collect vehicle licences. Allow ZINARA to deal with a few issues like tollgates, road levy and road transit fees. Allow vehicle licences to be collected by City of Harare, City of Bulawayo and all these other Rural District Councils so that the funds could then go into road development. I would appreciate a situation where inasmuch as Harare has got the majority of vehicles, it is better to say every local authority like Harare will set aside a percentage that could also go to help those councils that do not have huge volumes of traffic.

The number of vehicles we have on the road are massive and if local authorities are allowed to collect those funds and levies they would be a lot of development in terms of roads. Children that were born 20 years ago in Dzivaresekwa – some of them do not understand and do not know that some of their roads were once tarred. They just see dust roads. This is unfair and wrong Mr. Speaker Sir. We have got a fund that was being abused which should have been channeled towards road maintenance.

I want to urge the august House to support this report so that the due process of law takes its course. I thank you.

Source: The Inside