The quest to bring improved transparency and accountability in the management of Marange diamonds – scandalously known for the ‘missing $15 billion’ led to the creation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
As the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), an organisation with solid interest in resource governance, we are compelled to sift through the latest Auditor General’s report to have a better understanding of how well or bad is ZCDC managed, to see if that quest for transparency is yielding any results.
The Auditor General, Mildred Chiri, is famed for digging out the rot in the management of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
Her reports were quite revealing on ZCDC’s predecessor in Marange, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
Apart from sifting through the evidence provided by the Auditor General, the scope of this article covers audit areas that must be improved to hold to hold ZCDC accountable.
Audited reports are an important health check on the performance of any entity. Mismanagement of resources, like any disease, early detection is quite critical to ensure operational sustainability.
Here we are in 2018, discussing audit findings from ZCDC’s 2016 annual financial report. A clear one-year unproductive fallow period, 2017, shows that we are dealing with stale information.
This is a clear violation of the Public Financial Management (Act). The Act requires SOEs and government institutions to produce annual audited financial statements within six months after the end of each financial year.
ZCDC’s predecessor in Marange, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) was notoriously known for producing outdated audited reports.
Apart from the Auditor General’s findings, there is no public record of ZCDC’s income statement and balance sheet.
Citizens, therefore, have been denied the opportunity to know pertinent information like how much income did ZCDC generate in 2016.
Considering that Zimbabwe is well behind on mineral revenue transparency best practices, the public does not have a clue how well ZCDC’s performance regarding taxes – royalties, customs duty, withholding taxes and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) among others.
The same information can easily be publicly mined for Caledonia’s Blanket gold mine in Gwanda courtesy of Canada’s Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act.
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