ZINARA audit report- what MPs said- Dexter Nduna

Dexter Nduna

HON NDUNA: I just want to add my voice to the report by the Public Accounts Committee of which I am a member after having been chucked out of the Mines and Transport Committees but I think now I am in the right Committee. Hon. Speaker Sir, I will touch point by point and I just have 10 points on the report that has been presented by our Chair and seconded by Hon. Raidza, debated by Hon. Mushoriwa and Hon. Sansole.

The issue of how and why ZINARA was created borders around the delinquent behaviour that was and still is in the local authorities.   Having said that, two wrongs do not make a right.  When the vehicle licencing was actually being given to local authorities, they would use that money for other things other than road maintenance, both periodic and routine maintenance which is what that money is supposed to be for.  Having created this creature called ZINARA, it was therefore supposed to lead by example, however, if there is a snake in the house, we do not burn the house.  You go into the house and remove the snake and continue to dwell in the house.  If we continue to flip-flop to take this fund from ZINARA, take it back to the local authorities, we are not doing justice to the operation of this fund Hon. Speaker Sir.  Having said that, ZINARA is tasked with collection of funds in particular on the roads in Zimbabwe and licencing; for the benefit of routine and periodic maintenance of our road infrastructure.

It is tasked with giving to three authorities, that is Roads under the Ministry of Transport, DDF under Mr. Jonga in the President’s Office and the local authorities under Hon. G. J. Moyo, Minister of Local Government.  So these are the three authorities that are tasked with financing.  These funds are supposed to augment and complement funds that are coming from ZINARA.  A pittance as they might be, there are supposed still to find their way to these three authorities for the good of our roads.  If they then go and find their way to gigantic, humongous amounts in terms of pay packages to the CEOs of that company, it is a misdemeanour Mr. Speaker Sir.

I support the report because it has uncovered that there was more than 30 or 35% proposed by Government in terms of wages but they were getting much more than that.  The report is supposed to make sure we right the wrongs.  It is not meant to make sure that people get hanged or they die a natural death, that is not the thing. The report is supposed to uncover the delinquent behaviour and right the wrongs so that we move forward.  There is need to align the issue of the percentage quantum of wages with the dictates, ethos and values of the Executive decisions and the report has unpacked that and the wrongs need to be written Mr. Speaker Sir.

I also propose as follows, that when such reports are actually being brought up, it should not be for malicious intention; it is not supposed to be for personal antagonism Mr. Speaker Sir.  This should also be a technical report. The Auditor-General is a financial guru and on forensic and special reports, she outsources because she does not have capacity in terms of manpower to produce these reports.

It is my proposal that there should be an Institute of Engineers of Zimbabwe who are supposed to be part of the audit of the forensic auditors before an audit is produced on a department which is otherwise engineering inclined or a department which has some technical specifications that are not just money or white collar related.  This is an engineering department and it would have been better placed to have the Institute of Engineers of Zimbabwe to be part of this report but alas, it was not like that.

So, going forward, when there are special reports like this, the Auditor-General needs to be guided accordingly.  Why do I say this?  The issue of road maintenance and structural development is actually too technical. I will give you an example Madam Speaker, when you come on the Chair, that when you are dealing with a road, you are first dealing with a surface that you call base 3, then there is base 2 and 1, there is the  crusher-rung then there is the surfacing.   This is too technical for somebody to just go and serve by pen if they can adjudicate the quality whether it is completed or it is not completed. It is not easy for somebody who is not an engineer to adjudicate and to deal with the issues that are enshrined in this report, save for the issues of the software, money, percentage quantum, that they can quantify but not the issue of the quality of the workmanship that has been exposed in this report.  It is my thinking and view that as I sat in that Public Accounts Committee, there was need for engineers to be part of this report.  There was need also not to be regimented in terms of malicious intention on producing this report. A report should not be targeted to individuals but it should be targeted to the system of doing things.

I was part of the Committee that brought the contractors that brought the people that were being contracted by ZINARA.  All those engineers could do was just to come and laugh at the Committee because the questions were not in-tandem with what happens in the engineering sector.  I could only just fold my hands and watch because at that point, I would not be able to interject and intercede because that was not my role. Gavi rinobva kumasvuuriro. What went wrong went wrong at inspection and we cannot correct it at this point.

I can only propose that any future forensic audits in the Engineering Dept should involve engineers.  Madam Speaker, the graders that were bought by ZINARA, it has come out of this report that they have got what is called snow-ploughs and they have become a laughing stock to the forensic auditors, Madam Speaker Ma’am. A snow plough is a snow plough in countries where there is snow.  Here in Zimbabwe, it is called either a – [AN HON. MEMBER:  It does not have a name.] – It has got a name that moves power in terms of the power that either the dozer or the grader has.  It is called a dozer blade or a grader blade that can move mounts of earth in replacement of a dozer.  So in a way,  ZINARA bought the equipment at a price of two for one and should be applauded instead of being castigated.  It is because this forensic audit was conducted by an accountant more than an engineer and they would have got quite some credit if they had employed engineers to actually advise them on what they are calling snow plough.  It is a snow plough in England.  Here in Zimbabwe, it is a dozer blade and it moves at 80 kilowatt power if the grader has got so much power.  It is using that force to actually replace the dozer which can come on to site for money in terms of establishment.  Using just one grader, you are as though you have established two pieces of equipment.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, “kurova shiri mbiri nedombo rimwechete.”  So for that to happen, we need to involve the right people in the right places, not the square plugs in round holes.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, there is revenue leakages arising from this report that the Auditor General unpacked and a lot of those revenue leakages occur because we do not have what is called weigh bridges.  Weigh bridges are established in order that we get to see that this vehicle is moving with the right weight on the right square metre of road.  Otherwise, we are not having any longevity on our roads which we are supposed to collect toll fees from.  So, it is my proposal that arising from this report we establish what is called weigh bridges at every toll plaza.  There are about nine toll plazas on the 821 kilometre Plumtree – Mutare Highway.  It is possible, it is just and it is right for us to establish weigh bridges there so that we can have longevity on our road which has passed by the way, 25 years of its life span but we are lucky that we have got this $206 million DBSA loan financed infrastructure which is impeccable and is still qualitative.  We can protect it by establishing weigh bridges so that we can collect what is meant for Zimbabwe.

The other issue Madam Speaker Ma’am is the issue of licencing.  ZINARA was established to collect funds and to actually make sure that they give a back to these three authorities; the routine maintenance funds and the routine and periodic funds.  To ensure that the money is coming optimally, there is need to ensure that all vehicles are licenced.

THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER:  Hon. Nduna, you are left with five minutes.

HON. NDUNA:  The licencing Madam Speaker Ma’am, we have more than 1,000,500 vehicles and it is my thinking that if all the vehicles are licenced and they all pay their dues, we can have infrastructure developed second to none.  Madam Speaker Ma’am, we cannot for sure know that the public service vehicles and private vehicles are all licenced except if we link ZINARA with VTS, Zimra, VID, Road Motor Transport (RMT) and CVR.  That is the registration and licencing place.  There is need to expeditiously conduct the Zimbabwe Integrated Transport Management System.

This report is pregnant with a lot of consistencies and it is my hope that today because it has been unpacked, we can go to Isaiah Chapter 6 Vs 1 which says, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne.”  So, let us increase our licencing fees so that there can be a lot of money going to these three authorities arising from this issue of our report presented by our able Chair, Hon. Brian Dube.  Madam Speaker, he packs a punch; dynamite comes in small packages.

I also propose that when we are dealing with whichever department we are dealing with, we are Public Accounts and we deal with post budget issues and everyone is accountable to us through the Auditor General.  This is Transport Committee issues, we need the Chair of the Transport Committee to be in the Public Accounts Committee when we are discussing transport issues.  We need the Chair of Education Committee, assuming we are dealing with issues to do with education and the Chair for Tourism when we are dealing with tourism. On that note Madam Speaker Ma’am, you have seen how endowed I am with a lot of knowledge in terms of the transport sector.  Section 18 (2) of your Standing Orders says, chairing or inclusion of committees should be by expertise which I am and interest which I have.  So, you cannot continue to disalign me from a place that I like so much.

Madam Speaker Ma’am, I have spoken about automation and collation.  Now, the people of Chegutu West Constituency have allowed me to come here and debate in the manner that I do because we have more engineers in a square kilometer in Chegutu than other constituencies.  I hope I have done justice to this report in the manner that I have debated.  I thank you for giving me this opportunity Madam Speaker Ma’am.

Source: The Insider

%d bloggers like this: