Friday, 28 October 2016

PERM SEC : I'M NOT AWARE OF ZIMDEF FUEL DEAL

The Secretary for Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Mr George Magosvonge yesterday said he was not aware of the 100 000 litres of fuel donated to the Zimbabwe Youth Council by Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).

Giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF), Mr Magosvonge said despite him being the accounting officer of the ministry, he was not made aware of such a donation.

Mr Magosvonge’s remarks come as it also emerged that Parliament has rejected an attempt by the ZYC executive director, Mr Livingstone Dzikira to have Cde Wadyajena recuse himself from the inquiry arguing that he was a member of Zanu-PF Youth League, the supposed beneficiary of the fuel.

Mr Dzikira now risks being charged with contempt of Parliament for failing to attend Parliament to give evidence.

In yesterday’s hearing, Mr Magosvonge said while ZYC was a semi-autonomous body, it was supposed to apprise him of any donations and account for it.

“We have an executive director appointed in terms of the ZYC Act. That executive director is a sub-accounting officer at their level and because he is sub-accounting officer, it means I am an accounting officer of ZYC and to that extent, when they undertake their programmes they are supposed to advise us,” said Mr Magosvonge while fielding a barrage of questions from Cde Wadyajena.

Asked if he was aware of any donation made, Mr Magosvonge said: “To the extent that a disclosure has been made, I will be aware. They are supposed to account for the resources that  are at their disposal. If they get funding, they are supposed to disclose how they would have used it. At the end of the day, I am the accounting officer. If they receive any other donation I expect it to be accounted for.”

“Under my tenure, I am not aware of any donation that might have come from Zimdef. I might have to check with my colleagues.”

Asked if Zimdef had made donations to other entities like vocational training centres, Mr Magosvonge said: “Not on my record, sir.”

Meanwhile, Parliament has rejected a bid by Mr Dzikira to have Cde Wadyajena recuse himself from chairing the committee to enquire into how the fuel was utilised.

“There is no legal basis for requesting Hon Wadyajena to be recused from presiding over the inquiry by the Committee. He is chairing the meeting in his capacity as the chairperson of a portfolio committee of Parliament which is constitutionally-mandated to exercise oversight over the Executive, in particular the Ministry of Youth and all bodies that fall under it. He is exercising his role in terms of Section 119 of the Constitution and not as a member of the Zanu-PF Youth League,” wrote counsel to Parliament, Ms Gladys Pise in an advisory opinion to Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda.

In his letter, Mr Dzikira wrote: “We kindly request that the chairperson of this Committee be recused from presiding over this meeting as we feel that he is an interested party and is conflicted. This request comes after the realisation that among items to be discussed on the agenda, is the submission of a detailed report on the 100 000 litres of fuel that the Youth Council received from Zimdef on behalf of Zanu-PF Youth League. It is to this end that we seek the recusal of Hon Wadyajena as he is a member of Zanu-PF Youth League which received this fuel. We are of the opinion that the Chair might be conflicted on this matter.”

The calling of ZYC is expected to culminate in the invitation of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa who allegedly siphoned about $450 000 from Zimdef.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has also indicated that the 100 000 litres of fuel reported to have been channelled towards Zanu-PF Youth might not have reached its intended destination as it could have found its way into the black market. Herald

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