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Ministry of Transport cuts phone bill from $1.9 million to $649 a month after audit

In this case, we have been told by the Portfolio Committee that stocks pertaining to number plates are not accounted for and that is only one of the issues.  Madam Speaker, we are also told that this Parliament must provide, in Subsection 4 of Section 308, and I quote, ‘the speedy detection of breeches of subsections 2 and 3, that is the misappropriation of funds or the misappropriation of property and the disciplining and punishment of persons responsible for any such breaches and where appropriate, the recovery of misappropriated funds or property’.

In that light, Madam Speaker, I want to recommend that for once, in resolving, and I hope we will adopt this report, that we go further and actually execute what is said in the Constitution.   There must be prosecutions of these people who pilfered funds.  Our duty, as Parliament, is to ensure that our Constitution is upheld.  We have a Prosecutor General who is established in terms of Chapter 13 and in Section 259 the Prosecutor General is empowered to direct the Commissioner General of the Police to investigate any suspected crime.

In winding up the motion of this report, I want to propose that we go even further.  It is clear that there is money missing here.  I want to propose that the House resolves that the Prosecutor General is recommended to exercise their powers in terms of Section 259 and have the Commissioner General to specifically investigate the commission of criminal offenses regarding the various amounts that had been lost in one way or the other.  I also want to propose that in terms of Section 308 (4) that this Parliament is enjoined to also provide mechanisms of not only prosecuting and stopping this, but also recover monies.

The report read by Hon. Mpariwa tells us that an amount of possibly US$1.9 million was spent in making telephones for the Ministry and that only when safeguards were put in place, the amount dropped to US$649 thousand.  Madam Speaker, I want to propose that this House uses its power to also recommend that monies that were expended making telephone calls, which I assume using Tel One lines, are recovered and specifically, that the Ministry is recommended to get print-outs from Tel One that indicate the numbers that were telephoned and for there to be a forensic owning up of the numbers and whoever it is who would have telephoned on private business would be made to recover that money.

I also have a word for the Attorney General’s office as well.  We are told that the contract that pertains to the collection of monies from ZINARA for the Limpopo bridge was done in a manner that did not have a contract that was drafted.  Madam Speaker, we have a whole Ministry that has legal expertise and the Attorney General’s office which is, in terms of the Constitution, enjoined to give Government legal advice.  I want to propose and recommend that the Committee also ensures that there is improvement in the way that legal relationships are entered with the Government.  That the Attorney General’s Office takes a more proactive and a more responsible role, as far as going over and drafting contracts, to ensure that we do not have such large amounts of money and such valuable contracts being conducted in a manner that is totally unknown.

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