Wednesday, 5 October 2016

CHOMBO, ZHUWAO NAMED IN $8M CDF SCAM

Zanu PF legislators and Cabinet ministers Ignatius Chombo (Home Affairs), Sithembiso Nyoni (SMEs) and Patrick Zhuwao (Indigenisation) have been named among a host of ruling party officials who failed to account for their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations, raising the spectre of gross abuse of money.

Parliament yesterday named the Zanu PF bigwigs suspected of having abused the CDF and others who allegedly threatened an audit team that demanded bank statements from them.

A report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts, which was presented in the National Assembly yesterday, named Chombo (Zvimba North), Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa (Zvimba South), Zhuwao (Zvimba East) and Nyoni (Nkayi North) as having failed to open CDF bank accounts during the seventh Parliament.

Former Labour minister Nicholas Goche (Shamva South), Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Ambrose Mutinhiri (Marondera West), former Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa (Hurungwe North), former Energy deputy minister Magadzire Nyanhongo (Harare South) and Florence Chaderopa (Sanyati) also reportedly failed to open CDF bank accounts.

The total amount, of which doubt was raised on the accuracy of the bank balances of bank certificates for 53 constituencies, was $7 964 543.

The report said bank statements produced for audit examination accounted for $4 921 491, leaving a balance of $3 043 052 unsupported, resulting in a suspense account being created for the balance.

“The Justice ministry officials (auditors) pointed out that they could receive information on projects being implemented on paper and the moment they made an attempt to go and physically check the projects, they were threatened by MPs,” read the report presented by chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, Paurina Mpariwa.

“The committee recommends that the Speaker of the National Assembly, as head of Parliament, should compel the MPs and former MPs to produce the bank statements to support the bank balances in the financial statements by September 30, 2016. In the absence of bank statements, there are high chances that public funds were converted to personal use.

“The committee noted with concern that the MPs mentioned above acted irresponsibly by failing to account for public funds given that, as elected representatives of the people, they should be exemplary when it comes to accountability in the use of public resources.”
Other recommendations were that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders must set up a Privileges Committee to fully investigate MPs and former MPs who allegedly abused their privileges by threatening auditors.

It was suggested the committee should have been appointed by last Friday.
On the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac), Mpariwa revealed that the Auditor-General reports established that assets worth $24 381 went missing at various stages of the constitution-making process.

“Police reports were made and investigations were still under way at the time of concluding the audit.”

Revenue amounting to $204 441 was reportedly lost due to undervaluing of properties by employees of the Deeds and Companies Office in 2013.

“Some employees also processed fake deeds of transfers and mortgage bonds resulting in potential loss of revenue amounting to $166 518.” Newsday

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