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Why Zimbabwe’s Auditor-General needs more bite to tackle endemic looting in parastatals

If anyone needed evidence of why the Auditor-General needs a bigger whip and more teeth, they need to read the section on the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) in her 2016 audit.

While roads around the country crumble, the ride is smooth for executives at ZINARA, the agency responsible for Zimbabwe’s roads.

They overstate their profits and illegally award themselves big perks, and they feel no guilt.

In her audits, A-G Mildred Chiri presents her findings and asks management to respond.

ZINARA’s responses to her damning findings shows public officials are under no pressure to perform, or reform.

ZINARA could not prove how it spent project expenditure amounting to at least $2.1 million.

In addition, ZINARA overstated its profits by close to $50 million, the A-G says.

How did ZINARA respond? Do they panic?  Not at all.

“Observations noted. We are going to regularise in 2017,” ZINARA management bluntly responds in its management notes.

And what about the $2 million dollars that ZINARA has in Allied Bank, the failed bank that was owned by Obert Mpofu, who was once the minister in charge of ZINARA?

Why is ZINARA not attending creditors meetings, the A-G asks?

“Noted,” says ZINARA.

And what of all the big money that ZINARA management was illegally enjoying?

The $137 417 in board fees and cellphone allowances, and close to $30 000 in fuel allowances of up to 250 litres per month?

 Entertainment allowances of $2 250?

And those holiday allowances of $6 300, which totalled $18 500 per year?

None of these allowances are in the contracts of the managers that enjoyed them, the A-G observes.

“Observation noted. Allowances will be paid as per contract,” ZINARA says plainly.

And why are all these illegal perks being paid outside the pay roll, the A-G asks?

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