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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 04 October 2016 42-88
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 4thOctober, 2016
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two O’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
OFFICIAL OPENING OF PARLIAMENT
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order! I have the following announcements. I have to remind the House that His Excellency the President, Cde. R. G. Mugabe will officially open Parliament on the 6th October, 2016 at 1200 hours.
REMOVAL OF PERMANENTLY PARKED CARS
THE HON. SPEAKER: I would like to also request Hon.
Members whose cars are permanently parked in the car park to remove them by the latest end of day tomorrow. Those who do not comply with this request will have their cars towed away without any further notice.
NON ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that I have received a Non Adverse Report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) on the Statutory Instruments gazetted during the month of September 2016, except for Statutory Instrument 86 of 2016 (Plumtree Town Council (Clamping and Tow Away) by-laws.
EXTENSION FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE LAND
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) has requested an extension for consideration of the Land Commission Bill (H.B. 2,
2016) in terms of Standing Order No. 32(6).
LAUNCH OF THE ZWPC STRATEGIC PLAN AND THE “HE-
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that the
Presiding Officers of Parliament will launch the Zimbabwe Women’s
Parliamentary Caucus Strategic Plan and the “He-for-She Campaign” on Wednesday 5th October, 2016 in the Parliament Court yard at 0900 hours in the morning. The “He-for-She Campaign” is a solidarity campaign for Gender Equality initiated by UN Women.
Hon. Mandipaka having stood up to give a notice of motion.
THE HON. SPEAKER: I would like to advise that if you put your notice of motion today, at the end of debate, it shall lapse and you will have to reinstate it at the next session.
HON. MANDIPAKA: I will take your instruction Hon. Speaker. I will present the motion on Thursday.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you for your understanding.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I have taken your advice
too in terms of notices of motions. I am standing up on a point of order Mr. Speaker Sir, on a point of privilege. I stand to ask that you make...
THE HON. SPEAKER: Then you have to correct yourself. You are standing in terms of Standing Order Number 69 on Privileges.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker.
The holiday had taken its toll. Mr. Speaker Sir, I am asking that you give a ruling on the following issues: On the 8th of September, we had the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development presenting to us a MidTerm Fiscal Policy Review to the House. A few days later, we had a notice that was put out by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Mushowe in which he purported to be acting on behalf of the President and Cabinet. He indicated the following: that the proposals on the reduction of salaries and allowances for civil servants, the suspension of bonuses, the taxation of allowances for civil servants, an introduction of the vehicle loan scheme and the import parity pricing for maize for 2016/17 season were not agreed to by Cabinet. In fact, to quote him properly, he actually indicated in that statement that these particular proposals had been put to Cabinet and had been rejected.
Mr. Speaker, given those events and the very fact that we as
Parliament, duly sat in this particular House to listen to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, I am asking that you make a ruling on the following: the first ruling Mr. Speaker that I am asking you to make is on the issue of procedure. Given the fact that we received as Parliament a Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement from the Minister, which is now being contested by another Minister who is saying they are representing the same Cabinet, can we please have your ruling in terms of what that means in terms of procedure.
We know that the last time we had a similar issue where the President gave to this House a wrong Speech, the Leader of the House came in and did a formal withdrawal of that Speech. Is that procedure going to be the one that we are going to have? This is because we do not know which particular Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement we
are going to be debating given that we are having conflicting issues being presented to the House.
The second one Mr. Speaker is that of contempt of Parliament. Could you please make a ruling on whether that does not constitute contempt of Parliament on either the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who as you know, as he began his presentation, indicated to us that this was in agreement with the entire Cabinet and the
President. Could this be taken as contempt of Parliament that the
Minister of Finance and Economic Development in fact did mislead this House or is the contempt of Parliament according to Hon. Mushowe who also is indicating that this was rejected by Cabinet? In fact, we are having two Ministers from one Government both issuing a statement.
As Parliament, I think we need to know who is misleading Parliament.
The third issue that I am requesting your ruling Mr. Speaker Sir is that can we therefore get from you whether we as Parliament do not deserve a new Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement. We cannot debate a Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement to which the fundamentals of that Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement are being contested. If you look at the four issues that I have raised, they basically set the base of the entire Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review
Statement. I am therefore asking that before we even go into this debate Mr. Speaker that you do make a ruling on those particular issues that I have raised. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. Member
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, you raised very fundamental matters and because you really ambushed the Chair, the Chair will not accept the ambush. The Chair would seek your indulgence to study very carefully the issues you so rightly raised and allow for some probing in terms of the actual statement made by the Hon. Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services vis-a-vis the fiscal policy before us. To that extent, I crave your indulgence Hon. Member to allow the Chair to study your very complicated issues that you raised and we shall rule accordingly. Further, because of the fundamental issues that you raised Hon. Member, it is my ruling that the motion be suspended until I have studied the objections that you made.
HON. CHAMISA: Thank you very much Mr. speaker Sir. I wish
to take this opportunity to just raise a point of order regarding what you have mentioned vis-à-vis the coming of the President of the Republic to this august House on Thursday for what you termed ‘the Official
I am raising this in the context of our laws Hon Speaker Sir, because I was perusing and scanning through the magna carta of our country which is the Constitution of our country. It is very clear that there is no provision for what you defined as the Official Opening, whereas it was a creature and a feature synonymous with our old Constitution. In our new Constitution, the President could only come at the invitation of this House of Assembly or the Senate but if he does not come on those, it is also provided for him in terms of Section 146 of the Constitution …
THE HON. SPEAKER: Section?
HON. CHAMISA: Section 146 of the Constitution to summon
Parliament at any time to conduct special business, that is the only time our President is able to bring Parliament to sit.
With all due respect, Hon. Speaker Sir, as Parliament we are not going to be transacting special business as envisaged by the
Constitution. By the same token, we are also not going to be having the President coming here at our invitation because whereas we made a blanket resolution to say, we are going from time to time to invite the President. This House, as and when we deem it necessary for the President to come and address us, must and should peremptorily define the dictates and contours of the President coming to this Parliament.
So I am just raising it in the context of us being law makers. We cannot be law makers who do not know the law and this is why I am raising this Hon Speaker Sir to say, in terms of what law are we bothering our President to come and be in this House of Assembly?
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Member, you raise an interesting question which unfortunately you should have raised in 2013, 2014 and 2015 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes, on the basis of what you know stare decisis, the contestation is overtaken by the practice as indicated – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order as indicated in sub section (ii) of the Constitution and that practice was never contested and the proclamation made by the President makes reference to a resolution made by the two
Houses, that the President shall officiate at the Official Opening of the Sessions of Parliament.
So my ruling is that there is nothing untoward about that in terms of the practice. The Clerk will read the second Order of the Day.
HON. CHAMISA: Sorry Hon. Speaker Sir …
THE HON. SPEAKER: When the Chair has made a ruling you cannot open debate.
HON. CHAMISA: I hear you but it is not debate.
THE HON. SPEAKER: You cannot open debate.
HON. CHAMISA: Hon. Speaker Sir, with all due respect, you know that what makes Parliaments Parliaments, is to allow the deliberative dimension …
THE HON. SPEAKER: No, no, I will be setting a very wrong precedence.
HON. CHAMISA: No.
THE HON. SPEAKER: When the Chair has ruled – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Yes.
HON. CHAMISA: On this one, I did not ask you to rule – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Yes, the Chair has ruled.
HON. CHAMISA: There is no need for you to rule on this one.
Hon. Speaker Sir, with all due respect, the intention of your Hon. Member here was not to ask you to give a ruling because you are not enjoined to give a ruling in terms of the Standing Orders on this matter.
All I was doing was to flag this issue so that as Parliament, we are on all fours in terms of what is supposed to be done not that we do not want the President to come here. Unlike some of my colleagues who are on the other side – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order I have heard you.
HON. CHAMISA: I think what would be appropriate Hon. Speaker Sir in future, is for the House to make a determination and invite the President. I hope this will be taken on board because it is a very serious issue Hon. Speaker Sir.
THE HON. SPEAKER: When you flag something to the Chair, the Chair cannot remain mute. So the Chair will flag back and clarify issues accordingly. Thank you very much for the compromise, the Clerk will read the Second Order of the Day please.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: On a point of order – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is under Priviledge of the Parliament - rega nditaure mhani! – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members, please respect the Hon. Member.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Hon. Speaker, I just wanted to advise you that those two boys – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]
– Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my statement! – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order my Whip there, please order. Hon. Chinotimba, the Standing Rules are very clear on how we address each other. We address each other as Hon. Members and not vakomana.
So may you withdraw that statement please?
HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker, the two Honourables, the
Vice President – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order, please withdraw your previous statement.
HON. CHINOTIMBA: I withdraw.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Thank you.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I realise Hon. Chamisa and the other Hon. Member speak ill of the Vice President and as a result, he has since moved out of the House – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
THE HON. SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members may we be serious and be self-respecting – [HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] - We should not try to make this a kindergarten – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order so can we be serious please and proceed to the Second Order of the Day.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF MINES AND MINING
DEVELOPMENT (HON. F. MOYO): I move that Order of the Day, Number 2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
Motion put and agreed to.
FOURTH REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
ON THE FINDINGS BY THE AUDITOR GENERAL ON THE
2014 APPROPRIATION AND FUNDS ACCOUNTS FOR THE
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY
HON. MPARIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House adopts the Fourth Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the findings by the Auditor General on the 2014 Appropriation and
Funds Accounts for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (S.C. 19, 2016).
HON. D. SIBANDA: I second.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me
this opportunity of tabling the report of the Public Accounts Committee.
You will forgive me Hon. Speaker, perhaps it is also another coup but I will try my level best.
As part of its oversight mandate, the Public Accounts Committee examined the findings of the Auditor-General on the 2014 Appropriation Account for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs;
Attorney-General’s Office Administration Fund, 2013; Constituency
Development Fund (CDF), 2010; Constitution Parliamentary Select
Committee (COPAC), 2013; and the Deeds and Companies Office Fund, 2013. It is of great concern to the Committee that accounts for the Funds being administered by the Ministry were lagging behind which makes it difficult to follow up on some of the issues raised in the Audit Reports.
Some of the officials might have either moved to some other
Government departments or have left the service of Government thereby making it impossible to hold officials accountable for the use of public resources. The Committee is also concerned that the set of accounts for the CDF received a disclaimer opinion from the Auditor-General while the other sets received a qualified opinion. A disclaimer opinion means that there were significant uncertainties regarding the appropriateness of parts or all of the financial reports and this is the worst scenario case.
The Report, therefore, covers the findings raised by the Auditor- General on the Accounts, responses thereto by the Accounting Officer, observations and recommendations of the Committee. The Committee’s recommendations require the Ministry and other relevant authorities to take appropriate action within specified timelines.
2.0 OBJECTIVES OF THE ENQUIRY
Section 299 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No. 20 of 2013 states as follows:
(1) Parliament must monitor and oversee expenditure by the State and all Commissions and institutions and agencies of Government at every level, including statutory bodies, Government controlled entities, provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities, in order to ensure that-
- all revenue is accounted for;
- all expenditure has been properly incurred; and
- any limits and conditions on appropriations have been
Section 309 (2) (a) of the Constitution provides for the functions of the Auditor General as follows:
- a) to audit the accounts, financial systems and financial management of all departments, institutions and agencies of Government, all provincial and metropolitan councils and all local authorities.
National Assembly Standing Order No. 16 provides for the Public Accounts Committee to examine the sums granted by Parliament to meet public expenditure and such other accounts laid before the National
It is therefore, the duty of the Public Accounts Committee to report whether such public funds have been managed and expended as authorised by Parliament. In this context, the Committee examined the
Appropriation and Fund Accounts for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as reported by the Auditor-General in her Annual
Report for the financial year ended December, 31, 2014.
The Committee held an oral evidence session with Mrs V. Mabiza, the Permanent Secretary and an Accounting Officer for Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and other senior officials within the Ministry. It requested written evidence which was then analysed and further form the basis of the Report.
4.0 FINDINGS, OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
BY THE COMMITTEE
4.1 2014 APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS FOR THE
MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY
4.1.1 Outstanding Travel and Subsistence Advances Totalling
The Ministry, since 2010, has been failing to recover outstanding
travel and subsistence advances in violation of Treasury Instruction 1505. This matter has been raised since 2010 to no avail. In 2013, the figure was at $530 318, which means the Ministry only managed to recover $22 489 during the year 2014. The Permanent Secretary, Mrs Mabiza, acknowledged the observation and confirmed that no recoveries were instituted from 2010 up to the time she joined the Ministry in 2013. She advised the Committee that the system had collapsed and she had to put the systems in place. In 2015, the Ministry recovered $4 500 and from January to May 31, 2016 it recovered $5 959.53 giving a total of $10 459. 53 over a period of seventeen months.
The Committee was further informed that the former Director of
Finance and Administration in the Ministry had, at some point, instructed the Salary Services Bureau (SSB) to cease deductions for officials with outstanding advances. A schedule submitted to the Committee showed that some deductions commenced from April 2016 for 76 officials out of a total of 441 with varying outstanding advances. When the Ministry appeared before the Committee, the Accounting Officer gave an impression that deductions were effected on every owing officer yet further written submissions showed that it was only a handful. She also highlighted that deductions were increased from $50 to between $100 and $500 depending on the level of the official. Evidence presented showed that only one individual with an outstanding amount of $2 360 had his or her deduction pegged at $100. The rest were contributing less than $100. Surprisingly, a sample of those owing huge amounts, tabulated below, save for, Nguruve V. whose deduction was
$50 per month, showed that deductions were not yet effected.
|NAME OF OFFICIAL||OUTSTANDING
|Hon. P. Chinamasa||19 390.00|
|Zambada S.||18 339.00|
|Nyambuya W. N.||18 033.36|
|Zakeyo M.||16 225.00|
|Nguruve V.||13 746.00|
|Chigumadzi T.||13 415.00|
|Gadzai H.||12 204.12|
|Suntile S.||10 371.00|
|Mukwindidza P.||9 102.00|
|Mukarakate I. A.||9 065.64|
|Chindewere R.||8 513.00|
|Mutambarade A||8 360.00|
|Madziaenda D.||8 015.00|
|Mwananyoka A.||7 525.00|
|Nyamubarwa D.||7 136.99|
|Sadindi S.||7 002.00|
|Mutewera P.||6 401.00|
|Rukodzi B. B.||6 262.00|
|Kanengoni G.||6 047.84|
|Sibanda P.||5 848.00|
|Makhaza J.||5 768.00|
|Malandu A.||5 753.83|
|Chimhande K. G.||5 592.00|
|Ranga M.||5 184.00|
|Muza M||5 094.00|
126.96.36.199 The Committee noted with concern that there was laxity in recovering the outstanding advances by the Ministry. At the current rate of recovery, it will take the Ministry forever to recover the outstanding advances. It, therefore, recommends the Ministry to effect realistic deductions ranging from $100 to $500 for every individual owing, taking into account the outstanding amount and the grade. This should be implemented by September 30, 2016.
188.8.131.52 The Committee further noted that the former Director of Finance had acted irresponsibly by instructing the SSB to cease deduction and as such, the Civil Service Commission should initiate disciplinary proceedings against the official by September 30, 2016.
4.1.2 Unsupported payments made by Treasury to the City of Harare on behalf of the Ministry amounting to $167 246
The Ministry initially professed ignorance of the payment made on
its behalf by Treasury. Upon insistence by the Committee for the
Ministry to obtain source documentation supporting the payment, the Accounting Officer then advised the Committee that the City of Harare had later on, confirmed the payment by Treasury. The matter was therefore resolved to the Committee’s satisfaction.
4.1.3 Unrecovered Excesses on Cell-phone Advances amounting to $128 379
The audit observed that in violation of Treasury Circular No. 1 of
2010 and Cabinet Circular No. 9 of 2010, the Ministry did not recover outstanding amounts in the Cell-phone Debtors account totalling $128 379. Some of the amounts have been due since 2011. Due to poor maintenance of accounting records, the Ministry failed to relate recoveries to specific accounting periods. As reported by the Committee in the previous report on the Ministry, a new system had since been introduced to curb excesses. For the outstanding debts incurred before the system, the Accounting Officer advised the Committee that deductions had been effected through SSB and amounts totalling $17 000 and $11 799 were recovered in 2014 and 2015 respectively. In a further follow up response, the Ministry indicated that the Ministry had recovered $8 781.29 from January to May, 2016 leaving a balance of $106 718.68. From a schedule of debtors availed to the Committee, out of a total of 105 officials, recoveries were only being made on 42 officials.
184.108.40.206 The Committee noted that there were some improvements in recovering the outstanding amounts. If deductions were instituted for all the officials on the debtors list, the amount could have been reduced significantly by now. The Committee recommends that the Ministry should institute deductions on all officials on the debtors list by
September 30, 2016.
4.2 ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S OFFICE ADMINISTRATION
4.2.1 Unsupported expenditure totalling $45 788
Audit observed that the Fund incurred unsupported expenditure
totalling $45 788. During the year 2012, the Fund also incurred a total of $218 216 which was not supported by source documents. As a result, the audit was unable to determine whether the expenditure incurred was a proper charge against the Fund. Under such a weak control environment, chances are high that public resources may be misappropriated. The Accounting Officer informed the Committee during oral evidence that of the $45 788, they managed to validate expenditure amounting to $10 133 and supporting documents were available for inspection. For the remaining $33 788, an amount of $19 613 was confirmed to have been incurred for grooming, entertainment, domestic and foreign travel for the
Office of the Attorney-General. The funds were advanced to officers. About $16 042 was for payment of goods and services which were provided for the Forum for Africa and China Cooperation (FACC) meeting hosted by Zimbabwe in 2013. However, in the absence of supporting documents to validate the expenditures highlighted, it is not possible to conclude that the expenditures were properly made against the Fund. The Permanent Secretary also informed the Committee that her Ministry had failed to secure source documents from suppliers of goods and services for FACC. The Committee therefore could not rule out the possibility that public funds were misappropriated.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should
raise surcharges against officials responsible for the expenditures and recover the funds incurred without supporting documentation. This should be implemented by September 30, 2016.
4.2.2 Cash Payments in Violation of the Fund Constitution
The audit observed that cash payments amounting to $60 108 were made from the Fund in violation of the Fund Constitution which provides for safer methods such as bank transfer system. The Accounting Officer informed the Committee that her Ministry resorted to cash payments from the Fund after Treasury had failed to release funds for foreign travel on time. However, cash payments expose the Fund to misappropriation or loss of cash. The Committee noted with concern that the Fund resources were prone to abuse and are proving to be alternative sources of funding for Ministries whenever they fail to secure releases from Treasury. It also noted that Ministries do not seek Treasury approval but act as they so wish. In the current liquidity crunch, Ministries with Funds to administer are having an unfair advantage over those Ministries without Funds.
18.104.22.168 In the Committee’s view, the violation against the Fund
Constitution constitute financial misconduct which require authorities to take disciplinary action against offenders. The Committee recommends Treasury to formulate regulations with specific penalties for financial misconduct by December 31, 2016.
4.3 CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUND (CDF) 2010
As mentioned earlier on, the accounts of the CDF received a disclaimer of opinion which implies that the auditor could not obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an opinion.
Below were the issues raised on the CDF accounts.
4.3.1 Suspense Account
The Ministry did not produce bank certificates for 53
constituencies raising doubt on the accuracy of the bank balance of $7 964 543 disclosed in the financial statements. The 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 Ministry confirmed that the 53 constituencies had not submitted bank statements at the time of audit. However, the internal audit subsequently audited 44 of the 53 constituencies leaving out nine constituencies which had no bank statements. The Committee was informed that Constituency Committees headed by National Assembly
Members of Parliament were responsible for the administration of the CDF funds and the Ministry had no role.
The Ministry officials indicated that they encountered a lot of resistance as they tried to audit some of the constituencies. Considering that these were public funds appropriated through an act of Parliament, the Members of Parliament who resisted the audit of the funds were in violation of the provisions of the Section 80 (3) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19]. The Act requires internal auditors to have free access at all reasonable times to any records, books, vouchers, documents and public resources under the control of the Ministry or reporting unit concerned.
The officials pointed out that they could receive information on projects being implemented on paper and the moment they make an attempt to go and physically check the projects, they were threatened by
Members of Parliament. They reported the alleged threats to the then Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs but to no avail. This kind of behaviour also puts the name of Parliament, as an oversight institution, in disrepute.
Below is a list of constituencies and the sitting Members of
Parliament whose bank statements were not availed for audit.
- Nkayi North- Honourable S. Nyoni;
- Shamva South- Honourable N. Goche;
- Marondera West- Honourable Brig. A. Mutinhiri;
- Zvimba South- Honourable W. F. Chidhakwa;
- Zvimba East- Honourable P. Zhuwao;
- Zvimba North- Honourable I. Chombo;
- Sanyati- Honourable Mrs F. Chaderopa;
- Hurungwe North- Honourable Mr P. Chanetsa; and
- Harare South- Honourable H. M. Nyanhongo.
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 Members of Parliament 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.
22.214.171.124 The Committee recommends that the Speaker of
National Assembly, as Head of Parliament should compel the Members and former Members of Parliament to produce the bank statements to support the bank balance in the financial statements by September 30,
126.96.36.199 The Committee recommends the Committee on
Standing Rules and Orders to set up a Privileges Committee to fully investigate the conduct of the MPs and former MPs who abused their privileges as Members of Parliament by threatening officials and posed as a hindrance to the audit process. The Committee should be appointed by 30th September, 2016.
4.3.2 Poor Cash Management
It was observed that the majority of constituencies preferred cash transactions instead of cheques and bank transfer systems in violation of section 4.5 of the Fund’s Constitution. As a result, CDF funds were exposed to risk of loss or misappropriation.
188.8.131.52 The Committee noted with concern that the introduction of CDF without an enabling legislation had caused problems in terms of the management and accountability of resources under this Fund. Given the importance and the positive impact the Fund has in making the general public relate in a more realistic way to the National Budget, the Ministry, should by November 30, 2016, bring before Parliament a legislative framework to govern CDF.
4.4 CONSTITUTION PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE (COPAC) 2012 AND 2013
The COPAC Fund received a qualified opinion during the two years which implies that there were material weaknesses observed on the sets of accounts for the Fund.
4.4.1 Outstanding Payments to Suppliers of Goods and
Treasury Instruction 1204 requires Ministries and Government departments to settle payments with suppliers promptly. The audit observed that the Ministry had outstanding payments to creditors amounting to $1 649 332 as at September 30, 2013. The figure stood at $2 390 762 in 2012. The Accounting Officer informed the Committee that the debt was inherited from the former Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. In a follow up response pertaining to the debt, the Ministry indicated that it had settled $997 674.12, leaving a balance of $651 666.43. The submissions further highlighted that the outstanding debt was owed to Vickstrom, $117 090; CMED, $284
107.74 and ZBC, $250 473.69. The Ministry also indicated that Treasury had not provided funds for the debt in the current budget. A request was made by the Ministry for Treasury to pay off the CMED debt through set off arrangements as the entity had outstanding tax obligations with
ZIMRA. It was however, not clear as regards to the other two creditors.
184.108.40.206 The Committee recommends Treasury to settle the debts by December 31, 2016 to avoid litigations emanating from these long outstanding debts.
4.4.2 Motor vehicles issued to COPAC Officials without
The audit observed that eight motor vehicles with a total value of
$260 752 were retained by three former COPAC Chairpersons and two former secretariat staff without Treasury approval. The Ministry informed the Committee that the motor vehicles were under the direct control of COPAC and distribution was done by COPAC at the end of the Constitution making process. Minutes of the COPAC Management Committee indicated that a decision was indeed made for the three ex-
COPAC chairpersons to each retain two vehicles allocated during the Constitution making process. The two ex-secretariat of COPAC were also allowed to retain each a vehicle. Correspondence by the Accounting Officer to Treasury seeking guidance on how to proceed on the issue, dated July 11, 2013 was availed to the Committee. However, Treasury had not been forthcoming in this regard.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that Treasury should
regularise the ownership of the eight motor vehicles in terms of
Government regulations by September 30, 2016.
4.4.3 Assets unaccounted for
The audit observed that assets with a total value of $24 381 went missing at various stages of the Constitution making process. Police reports were made and investigations were still underway at the time of concluding the audit. The Ministry informed the Committee that it took charge of assets that were handed over to them at the time of winding up of COPAC activities and assets reported missing were not known to the Ministry. The Committee noted with concern that the Ministry seemed to have experienced challenges in taking responsibility of assets that were under COPAC and as a result, it will be very difficult to recover assets reported missing. However, COPAC activities were funded by public funds and as a result, there was need for transparency and accountability for such resources in order to inspire confidence by the public.
4.5 DEEDS AND COMPANIES FUND 2013
4.5.1 Loss of Revenue due to Fraudulent Activities
As a result of weak internal systems in revenue collection, the
Fund lost a total of $204 441 due to undervaluation of properties by employees of the Fund at the Bulawayo regional offices. Some employees also processed fake deeds for transfers and mortgage bonds resulting in potential loss of revenue amounting to $166 518. The Accounting Officer confirmed the fraudulent activities which she attributed to absence of a computerised system. She indicated that the officers involved had manipulated the manually operated system to suit the illegal activities. The Ministry had responded by computerising the Deeds Office and officials implicated were reported to the Police and charged. The Committee was satisfied with the measures taken by the
Ministry to address the observation.
The Committee concluded that Funds were generally not properly managed and accounted for and as a result, subjected to manipulation by Fund administrators. There is need for Treasury to seriously review the Funds in existence and see if they were still serving purposes for which they were established. As noted in previous reports, there is generally poor maintenance of accounting records, an environment which is conducive for fraudulent activities. The Ministry should strengthen control systems around Funds and ensure timeous reporting.
I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: I just want to announce that Ford AD-19273 is blocking other vehicles, may the owner please go out and correct the situation.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I just want to speak to
the report that has been tabled by my Chairperson, Hon Mpariwa.
Madam Speaker, I will not speak a lot on it, because I think she has covered all the issues except to perhaps just buttress some of the issues that she has raised. One of the things that is of concern as the Public Accounts Committee; I think in this particular sitting, we have issued close to about six reports. Out of those reports from Ministries that we have, we have not had one response from the Executive and I think that raises a lot of concerns because most of the things that we are talking about here, are issues that are post what has happened. We would have hoped that the Ministers responsible for these Ministries would come back and be able to at least speak and indicate to us that in the future, this is what they would be doing.
Madam Speaker, I am pleased that today as we make the presentation of this report, the Hon. Vice President and Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is actually in the House today. Fortunately, he is also the Leader of the House and that hopefully he will set precedence that when a report is issued, they then will respond. We are going to come back to the House with the indications of the Ministers who have failed to do so during the stipulated period. I think as the House, we are asking our other fellow Members of Parliament that we may have to really take on the sanctions against the Ministers more seriously. We cannot continue to be doing this day in day out, with no response. We might as well not be bothering coming with these reports if we are not going to have any responses to these issues.
I will only speak to one issue which my Chairperson raised; I am not sure whether Hon. Chairperson raised the particular names that are involved on the issue of CDF. I say so Madam Speaker because two issues arose on this one. Those that failed to avail their bank statements for audit but there were also issues that were raised around security issues where people who were supposed to follow on this audits could not even access those particular constituencies because they were being threatened doing so.
We have been almost careful as Members of Parliament not to bring this issue as public as we can. We are hoping that when we raise it with the Speaker, he will be able to deal with those Members of Parliament on an individual basis. We cannot have Members of Parliament that sit in this House, who say they are Honourable yet make it impossible for people to come and do audits in their areas because they are threatening them in doing so. I think it is an unacceptable thing.
So, those that have not issued the bank statements that have not been availed for audit to just make sure that we are naming and shaming and that people will remember this. We said it is Nkayi North – Hon. S.
Nyoni; Shamva South – Hon. Goche; Marondera West – Hon. Brigadier
- Mutinhiri; Zvimba South – Hon. Chidhakwa; Zvimba East –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon. Member. I heard Hon. Mpariwa – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]- Order, order!
HON. MISIHAIRABWI MUSHONGA: Yes, for purposes of
emphasis, Madam Speaker, because these are role models. –[HON.
MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: Hamungarambeka kuti titaure!]
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you are now
answering the Hon. Members yet I am protecting you.
HON. MISIHAIRABWI-MUSHONGA: I am sorry Madam
Speaker. Hon. Chombo, Hon. Chaderopa, Hon. Hon. P. Chanetsa, Hon. Nyanhongo. Madam Speaker, we are doing so to make sure that none of us as Hon. Members of Parliament will ever do anything that gets us to be named and shamed. As you may know this is the first time that we are actually bringing specific names for people that have not done something. We cannot be prepared to sit here and hold the Executive accountable, saying it has not done A, B, C, D yet when it comes to us, we do not want to be put out for scrutiny. What is good for the goose is good for the gander and that is the reason why I am doing what I am doing right now.
However, we have heard my Hon. Chair giving a proper detailed report around these issues; suffice to say the issues that I raised, we hope that we can have Ministers respond to these issues. I thank you.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I also
want to add my voice on this report which was not well presented. I am saying that corruption is not good but the people, who were involved in the audit, did not do it well. They just want to tell people those who refused people to do the audit in their constituencies but there are some who stole money which is not accounted for. So, what I am appealing to the Chairperson of this Committee is that she should table her report well and bring out the names of those people who stole money even if the audit committee went there.
For example, in my constituency they were told that we bought this material to revamp our deep tank but the asbestos belonged to an individual. So, we do not have to involve politics, we have to be apolitical when we are debating in this House.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker and I really want
to recognise that you have actually allowed me to speak. When we speak in this House, we also need to protect those who cannot protect themselves and come to defend themselves in this House.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! If someone is
debating, I need to hear what they will be saying. So, if you make noise
I will not be able to answer.
*HON. MPARIWA: What I am appealing to you Hon. Speaker is
that Mrs. Chiri is the Auditor General who is employed by the
Government. I do not think she belongs to any political party. We are a post Audit Committee, we operate like pathologists, so if Mrs. Chiri has brought some information to us, that is what we include in our report because that is what she would have given us. No one from the
Committee can bring what is not in the Auditor- General’s Report.
I think you heard me saying that the Auditor General’s Report of 2014, I did not say this report belongs to our Public Accounts but we are analysing the report which was tabled by the Auditor General looking at how the CDF was disbursed. Thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order! I do not see why
you are complaining. I think when people are debating, they say a lot of things, but at the end of the day, when you are summerising, they can as well talk about what you are saying. So, people can say a lot of things and also the Auditor General can take advantage of that as well. So, if we can leave people to talk.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Madam Speaker…
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Chinotimba, if it was
an Hon. Member who was sitting in that particular constituency, talk of the Hon. Member and not from which party.
*HON. CHINOTIMABA: I did not say from which party this Hon. Member comes from. So, the Auditor General who gave us this report, we are appealing that if she is tabling a report, she should give us a report which is complete without leaving anything so that when Members of Parliament are going there, they should ask as a Committee how things are working. So what I am saying is that the report that we have heard, it looks like it left out a lot of things.
The reason why I am saying a lot of things were left out is that there were things that came out of newspapers that people misused funds. A lot of things came out and even the Committee pointed out that some withdrawals were being made without any supporting receipts.
So, is it not better for the Auditor General, through our Committee, to do a thorough investigation of those people who withdrew cash, who did not produce any supporting receipts? Where are the things, the buildings that were built so that there is transparency in this House and then we can distinguish whether they stole because stealing is stealing and it is corruption?
People who are involved in corruption, I do not support them. That is why we were not given money. They were now afraid that people misuse it because if only three people misused the money, we could have benefited because they were not the majority, but many funds were misused. That is why the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development did not disburse anymore funds. So we do not want to lie to each other. We should tell each other the truth that those who were there should be investigated.
That Committee, when it is formed, it should not only go to those people that we have heard, but it should go to everyone and then they do thorough investigations on how these funds were used. If it were possible you could include me in that Committee so that I could also be involved in the investigations, whether it is ZANU-PF or MDC so that we really know who stole the money.
It might take a lot of time, but I am saying the truth. Right now, Madam Speaker, maybe we might get some money and then we change the rules and regulations and see those who work and those who do not work. What I am saying is that almost all the people who were involved in the last Parliament, all of them are corrupt, they all stole some money.
I thank you.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Chinotimba
for debating. I think we should debate factual things because this is an audit report. We cannot say everyone has stolen. It is not fair.
HON. MANDIPAKA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I will be
very short, precise, concise and to the point. I would want to make a comment on the observations by the Accounts Committee, but on the same note, challenge the Committee that in my personal view, they were not very exhaustive. Why do I say so? I want to strongly believe that the names that have been mentioned in this august House, I do not know what kind of coincidence that is because they belong to one particular political party and I do not want to believe that those are the only persons who mismanaged the fund or who misappropriated the fund.
If the Committee had done thorough work, I think they were going to discover that Members of Parliament from both sides, be it ZANU-PF or MDC, could have possibly abused that fund, but Madam Speaker, this august House should not lose sight of the fact that when that fund was disbursed, there was no legislation for the management of that fund. So I think it was a loophole which was used by Members of Parliament to capitalise and to make sure that they abuse the fund.
So, it is a learning point, it is a learning curve. We learn from our mistakes. I want to believe that if CDF is distributed to Members of Parliament in future, we must have an Act of Parliament that will enable the proper usage of that money so that it is not abused.
One other thing that I discovered from the presentation by the Chair is that we had a lot of abuses and misappropriations in various councils and it is on record that the majority of councils in this country, unfortunately or fortunately enough, are being run by those that are in the opposition and so it serves as a lesson to tell us the caliber of councillors that were nominated to run those councils. They have misappropriated funds and that is the reason why we enacted a piece of legislation in this august House to make sure that the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is empowered to be able to dismiss such councillors. I thank you Hon. Speaker – [AN HON.
MEMBER: Urikuperekedza muchato here iwe? Urikuchata here?] -
THE HON. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member who is talking about kuperekedza muchato can you please stand up and explain what you mean.
HON. SANSOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate. When we look at this report, we find that the CDF actually received a disclaimer of opinion. This is the worst kind of audit opinion that can be presented by an auditor. In other words, the auditors are simply saying we are unable to express an opinion on what has been presented to us, whether it shows a true and fair view of the state of affairs in that particular entity. So, it is the worst and I think something needs to be done as a matter of urgency.
Coming to the travelling and subsistence allowances that were not paid back by the officials amounting to US$507 000, you will find that the Ministry has been struggling since 2010 to recover that amount and only US$22 000 recovered in 13 years means that at this rate, with the total amount outstanding, it will take 299 years for the Ministry to recover this money. This basically means that it is going to be written off because it was given to officials and none of them will live for 299 years, let alone serve in the Ministry for that length of time. So effectively, it means that these people were given interest free loans which they will get away with and they will not pay at the end of their service. What is worrying is that the Minister who was actually heading that particular Ministry is at the top of that list with $19 000 and I think that he should lead by example.
On cellphone allowances, the same thing applies – the length of time that they will take to recover the $138 000 goes beyond the time that these officers will serve in that Ministry. There was no supporting documentation; which is a violation of the Constitution which states that all expenditure must be properly incurred. So, if it is not supported by vouchers/documents, it means that there is a possibility that, that expenditure has not been properly incurred.
There is also an issue of cash payments. There is no excuse for using cash where other alternative methods of payment are available – the first being the issue of transfers while cheques are no longer popular and effective. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) where Members of 53 constituencies failed to avail bank statements, you will find that most of the culprits were actually Ministers and it is very worrying. I support the recommendation of the Committee on the action that should be taken. I would also urge us as Members of Parliament to account properly for the Constituency Development Fund so that we are able to access that fund in future because it is very effective for us to use
CDF money as a development agency in our constituencies.
On COPAC – it also had a qualified audit opinion. Qualified is bad in the sense that, the Auditor has misgivings about what is presented to them and they qualify it in respect of certain aspects of the financial statements. We have the issue of people retaining institutional vehicles - taking them away at the end of their service without formalising ownership and that is not acceptable. In the past, Government Ministries and local authorities - the way that they have been accounting for fixed assets is such that those assets do not even appear on the balance sheet. You buy motor vehicles and they do not appear on the balance sheet unless we go to the fixed assets register, you will not be able to trace them. It is like when you buy a motor vehicle, it is just as good as buying cool drinks because it is expended just like recurrent expenditure and there is no way that they can be followed up. So, I think that with the introduction of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, this will greatly improve. In that respect, I would like to support the recommendations of the Committee. Thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. CROSS: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I just want to say
one thing that, although this is a story of disaster at the Ministry, we were very impressed with the Permanent Secretary. Mrs. Mabhiza handled her role superbly in the interview with the Committee and she was totally on top of her job. I just want to encourage the Minister that, we did not find any fault in his Permanent Secretary peers. This was mainly historical stuff that we were dealing with.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the problem of allowances and cellphone accounts has been coming up continuously in all the audits that we have been examining. This is where Government officials are paid allowances in advance before proceeding overseas to a conference and are expected to account for those allowances when they return. These officials are not consistently providing the documentation when they return and if they do not produce the documentation, they should reimburse the funds. The amounts involved are not small and the officials involved are not junior but are senior staff members. I think that Ministers and Permanent Secretaries have to take their responsibilities seriously in this respect and they should require their officers to account for the funds that have been granted to them responsibly. I think that the problems of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs are just a tip of the iceberg. This is a frequent occurrence across the Civil Service. I want to make the same remarks about funds.
We have more than 100 statutory funds in Government, all of which are subject to scrutiny by the Auditor-General. I do not think that we as a Committee have examined one fund yet which is totally administered properly. This particular fund, the Attorney-General’s fund is characterised by poor accounting and poor decisions in respect to the allocations of funds. The funds are unique in terms of Government financing in the sense that these funds are held at the discretion of the Accounting Officer, the Permanent Secretary, who has discretion over how they will be used and how they will be disbursed. I think because of that, they have greater responsibility when dealing with these particular funds because they do not fall into the normal category of budget allocations.
When it comes to the CDF issue, I was amused when they did the audit of my constituency. When the auditors asked me to come to a local police station to present my accounts, I could not work out why they wanted me to come to a police station. When I got there, there was a small team from the Ministry who were conducting the audits of the Constituencies in the Bulawayo area. They were conducting the audit in a police station for protection. Mr. Speaker, I am not exaggerating and it was for protection from MPs like me, I could not believe it! When the Permanent Secretary told us in the Committee that they could not examine the books of the 53 of the constituencies because the MPs concerned refused to comply, we felt that this was an extremely serious matter. Mr. Speaker, it is $3.4 million that could have possibly been misappropriated and as for these nine who remain after an intensive exercise to audit them, quite frankly, I think that the Speaker has to take strong and serious action to correct matters.
In respect to COPAC, I think that it is time that we not only implemented my colleagues’ suggestion regarding adoption of International Standards for Public Accounting in terms of how we deal with assets like motor vehicles; but it is also time we had a careful look at how we handle responsibility for assets purchased with donor money. The vehicles and the other assets misappropriated during the COPAC era were purchased with international funds provided on a grant basis by international agencies. At the end of COPAC they should have become State assets. These are not small amounts of money, but they are large amounts and I think that we should take a careful look at this and adopt new rules and regulations for any exercise of this nature in the future.
Lastly, as a businessman, I would say that the Minister needs to take a closer look at the Deeds office. The Deeds office is a deeply corrupt place and it is subject to influence by money on a daily basis. What we found in terms of the audit was just a tip of the iceberg. In fact, the problems in the Deeds office are extremely serious and deep and they must be attended to as a matter of urgency. Thank you Mr.
HON. HOLDER: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this
opportunity to contribute towards this noble debate. Mr. Speaker Sir, I just want to mention of a few things, taking note from what was presented in this House. A cat and a dog can live in the same yard, but the moment you tie them together, they fight. Mr. Speaker, during that time, this shows a clear testimony of the Government of National Unity (GNU); it was during the GNU when all this disaster happened. It shows us that there was a lot of recklessness that took place. Mr.
Speaker, I quote; when the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Chinamasa came to this august House, he said that he had been thrown into the deep end to sort out the mess which Biti and Matibenga left and they are not in this august House.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to remind the Chairlady who gave the report that; in Government, Ministers are reshuffled all the time, there is no continuity but Permanent Secretaries should have continuity. They are busy talking about US$3.4 million which was lost then, now we are busy putting mechanisms in place so that this does not happen again.
This is why most of us here, Hon. Members of Parliament in this august
House are having the challenge of when we are going to have the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). It is because of the mess that was left in the last Parliamentary Session. Mr. Speaker Sir, if we had continued with the GNU, you could have imagined the disaster that we could be having now. It is good that now we know there is one Government which is now putting principles in place to sort out the mess which was done then.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I know I might have offended our colleagues on the opposite side but the Bible says the truth shall set you free. I think I have had my fair share to let them know the truth. I thank you.
HON. K. SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I understand that we have 210 constituencies which received CDF funds and out of that, nine were not audited. This means that 201 constituencies were audited. My worry is that, the report does not highlight on any certification of the 201 audited accounts in the CDF funds, neither does it give any discrepancies found during the audit. Are you sure that 201 accounts were audited and found clean? That is where the problem is and that is a shortfall on this report.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me this
opportunity to debate on this insightful report by the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee on behalf of the Committee. I wish to begin by congratulating our Public Accounts Committee through the leadership of Hon. Paurina Mpariwa, for bringing to this august House an enlightenment of the state of the usage of public funds which is so scarce. I would like to commend the Committee for its hard work.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I have an interest on this report as the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs. I wish to thank the Committee because my Committee is also enlightened in considering bids for the 2017 Budget and will be assisted by the observations made in this report. Whilst we seek to approve the allocation of funds, we cannot be seen ignoring certain holes in the bucket that we are trying to pour water because we may not be able to fill it.
Mr. Speaker Sir, allow me to make the following observations; I want to express my shock and discomfort at the high level of indebtedness – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order Hon. Members. Your
whispers are a bit loud, may you lower your whispers.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I find it disturbing, that an amount as high as US$503 3080.00 can be owed to the Ministry in terms of advances for travel and subsistence allowances. Mr. Speaker Sir, when we compare this amount to the actual Vote that has been disbursed to the Ministry in any financial year, we will find that this is a very huge proportion of money that can be used in the Ministry. Why is it that ministry officials ask for advances for travel and subsistence allowances? It possibly points to a problem where we have insufficient fiscal space and ministries are not getting sufficient funding. This may lead to a situation where officials who are required to go out and conduct business find themselves without funding for that particular Government business and end up borrowing.
However, if the Ministry advances travel and subsistence allowances, one would expect that the officials would get paid that money at a certain point. How then is it possible that there continues to be such huge amounts outstanding allowances for those officials when the Ministry needs it? Mr. Speaker Sir, I really support the recommendations of the Committee that, whatever position those officials hold in the Ministry’s hierarchy, they must be made to pay in the timeframe that the Committee recommends because it impacts on this budget.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I wholeheartedly support their recommendation that; they take the issue with the former Director of the Ministry for having ordered the Salary Service Bureau (SSB) to cease the deductions of these loans and this was not explained. I hope that as the Committee probes further, it would be found out whether this was done according to the law and if it is in breach of their duties as a civil service entity, they must be answerable.
Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the Committee for its diligence and not giving up. They report that they queried an instance of an unsupported payments made for the Ministry to the Harare City Council by Treasury. They indicate that initially, the Ministry claimed ignorance over this issue and said they did not know. However, the Committee did not give up and it probed the Ministry further, eventually leading to the Ministry bringing proof of such payments.
I think that this will ensure that the dignity and authority of Parliament is not taken for a ride. The example shown by the authority in probing relentlessly shows the authority that this august House has in terms of its Committees and that may be in future, Government officials who prevaricate and try and avoid answering questions must be reminded that they would face charges for contempt of Parliament.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to refer to an issue that came from the
Public Accounts Committee’s Report that the Ministry has been able to recover allowances from only 42 officials. The Ministry should be commended for improving recoveries because previously, this had not been done and it is encouraging that the Ministry has put in place a system. This should be encouraged we urge the Ministry to continue doing more.
I note with concern that the report states that due to poor maintenance of accounting records, the Ministry failed to relate recoveries to specific accounting periods and they were able to recover from only 42 out of 105 officials who owe. While the recoveries are encouraging, through you Mr. Speaker, I would like to encourage the Ministry to recover these amounts from all those who owe money.
Allow me to refer to the item on unsupported expenditure from the
Attorney General’s Administration Fund from 2013 that the Committee reported on. They reported that US$45 758.00 was not accounted for by the Attorney General’s Office’s Administration Fund.
I quote from the report where it says ‘the Committee therefore could not rule out the possibility that public funds were not appropriated’. The reason that I raise this alarm is because as you will recall, in terms of Section 114(3) (d) of the Constitution, one of the roles of the Attorney General’s Office is to be the chief legal advisor to
Government and in particular Mr. Speaker Sir, the Attorney General’s function is to promote, protect, uphold the rule of law and to defend the public interest. It is extremely disconcerting that the Attorney General’s
Office’s own fund will show mysterious and unaccounted for disbursements and expenditure that is not supported, and that is not in the public interest.
Since the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for being the chief legal advisor to Government and ensuring that Government works according to the book, it should not be acceptable. It should lead by example and should not be seen to fail to account for funding in such a way that it calls the integrity of the administration into disrepute. I cannot also fail to comment on the very disturbing list of Hon. Members of Parliament past and present who have failed to even open bank accounts for a Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which had very clear rules with a Constitution.
What alarms me Mr. Speaker Sir is that four out of the six
Members of Parliament who did not open bank accounts and who avoided all debt are Cabinet Ministers. I say this because it is great cause for concern when we find Hon. Cabinet Ministers, not only Members of Parliament, but they are the ones to which the whole nation of
Zimbabwe reposes trust and to get us out of the mess that we are in. We must know them especially for financial probity, honesty and accountability.
The Hon. Ministers Nyoni, Hon. Minister Mutinhiri, Hon. Minister W. Chidhakwa, Hon. Minister S. Chidhakwa and Hon. Minister Chombo. These five, I want to speak through you Mr. Speaker Sir that for the sake of the confidence of the public in Cabinet and in the offices that they hold, they really need to examine their consciences and do something about this. I want to particularly refer to the Ministry because this is what the public would call as corruption if there is opaqueness
and lack of accountability for Government funds and also blocking investigations and audit that would be corruption.
I am concerned because one of these Hon. Ministers, Hon. Minister Chombo is a Minister of Home Affairs, which Ministry superintends the Anti-Corruption Commission. How then would we expect that we indeed are genuine and sincere in going against corruption if we have the Minister who leads that Ministry being one of the Members of Parliament who has failed to open a bank account and who has failed to make an audit available to him?
Mr. Speaker Sir, no wonder why I now understand that if we have five Cabinet Ministers out of a list of seven Members of Parliament who were very murky, mysterious and evasive on the CDF, this is lack of accountability. This is why Hon. Ministers do not bother to come to the House to answer questions. Accountability might seem to be alien to them and in matters such as this, it is really disturbing because it involves public funds missing and unaccounted for money can be the subject of criminal offences.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to conclude by referring to the COPAC issue and urge and hope that when the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development brings the 2017 budget proposals, he makes sure that we salvage the reputation of our Constitution by allocating money towards paying those creditors that were owed during the COPAC process because we are using this Constitution because of that process. It is only fair and right that those creditors be given their money so that they do not curse our Constitution.
I also want to end on that note and I am encouraged that the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is working on a draft Bill on the Constituency Development Fund. I will say Mr. Speaker that it will be remiss of this House if for the third budget in a row, we listen to a Budget Presentation and pass a Finance Act that allocates money to a Constituency Development Fund when we know very well that we do not have an enabling Act. This must be the last time that it must be done. It is my hope that the CDF Bill is brought to the House in the time that the Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts has suggested.
I thank you.
HON. CHIMANIKIRE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would like to pay homage to the Public Accounts Committee for being brave enough to go through the Auditor General’s Report and also for the comments that they have made in this House. It is unfortunate that some Members of this House seem not to understand the role of Committees such that they want to take the Committee to task, not realising that a Committee is a multi-party set up in terms of the Standing Rules and Orders of this Parliament. When they present a report, it is by consensus that the report is brought before the House. Therefore, it is unnecessary for a member of this House to speak as if they were in opposition to a Committee Report.
I remember very well that the speaker pointed out that reports that come to this House are as a result of a consensus process. Therefore, no single member can be a dissident to a report that is presented to this
House. It is very evident that from the presentation that we listened to, we have accounts that are lagging behind from 2013 that cannot be audited to date. Therefore, this House is denied the privilege of knowing an up to date account of what is happening in the various Ministries.
However, a point of concern is where we have six reports that have been presented to this House and the Ministers have not found it necessary to respond so that the House can advise the constituency where they come from that there is accountability in this House, which is very tragic. That is unacceptable. We have a situation where some of the
Ministers, names have been mentioned and Permanent Secretaries whose Ministries are being taken into account have been mentioned, but the tragedy is no one has ever been punished for actually misappropriating millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have raised this in this House and when it comes to travelling and subsistence allowances advances; to the amount of over half a million. If you look at salaries that Permanent Secretaries are earning, they are not up to half a million. So, there is illegal borrowing that is going on in ministries and there is
no accountability that is being enforced upon on those who are in charge and yet these are the accounting officers.
I heard of Mr. Ngulube who is paying $50 a month. He is the only one who is repaying his debt in terms of T and S advances. In terms of the amounts that are owed by some of our members who were with us during the period that we were allocated Constituency Development Funds (CDF), we were asked to account for them but others got away with it. Unfortunately, some were even brought back being members of the Executive as has been pointed out by an earlier speaker. Mr.
Speaker, it is disturbing.
I was a member of COPAC. I remember the resolutions that we passed before we wound up. The Ministry was supposed to authorize ownership of the vehicles that were used by COPAC although some of them had come from donors. I am surprised that individuals took decisions that had no accountability to the ministries concerned. It is in order that the Auditor General’s report in being taken into account, those responsible should receive appropriate punishment. We did not approve that individuals should just walk away with vehicles from COPAC. I am sure those who participated, including the current Speaker knows very well that we had a standing resolution that it was through the Ministry that a decision had to be taken as a recommendation. I am surprised that individuals took individual decisions and walked away with vehicles that they were not supposed to have done.
Mr. Speaker, when we do not appreciate an Auditor General’s report and we want the report to reflect to what we have as opinions in its summation of whatever they would have been investigating, it is very unfortunate. We have to accept audit reports for what they are. As a House, we have to be seen to be maintaining and defending the Constitution because the Auditor General draws his or her authority from the Constitution. Therefore, when they carry out their duty, it is not the duty of this House to question why she has presented a report in this manner or that manner.
After all, an Auditor General is supposed to present a summary of findings and not a bible of all the processes that they would have undertaken during audit. So, I hope that in future we will appreciate it. I know why people are not appreciating audit reports. Each and every time this Committee was trying to present a report, it would be towards the end of the day when most members would have left the House. I am glad that this report was presented earlier and it gave an opportunity for the House to know those who appreciate what an audit is all about and those who think that an audit is a tool for politics. I thank you Mr.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to add my voice to the report of the Auditor General presented by Hon. Mpariwa and seconded by Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Mr. Speaker Sir, I also need to take you back to the Constitution regarding some of the duties of the Auditor General, in particular on Section 309(2)(c). It says, “To order the taking of measures to rectify any defects in management and safeguarding of public funds and public property.” Subsection (d) goes on to say, “To exercise any other functions that may be conferred or imposed on him or her by all under an Act of Parliament.” This is where I am going to major on.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the Auditor General is said to be a protector of public funds and public property and the management of the same, which brings me to the point where there are charges that are being imposed on account holders by banks. You have seen who has made money since dollarization. It is only the banks but it is those that hold funds in those accounts who have been impoverished. Why do I say so? It was raised by Hon. Mpariwa to the effect that some Hon. Members could not establish bank accounts and they preferred cash. Be that as it may, one wants to really have scrutiny on the finance houses; what it is that they are making at the end of the day. Are they making anything at the expense of the user or the people that are using those finance houses?
Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe is the only country where US dollar is so overvalued to an extent where the interest rates are about 23.5%, whereas the global best practices are that you find a bank charging you
0.5% maximum interest. It brings me to the point that as a House in the future, if we can have the Executive bringing in an Act that is going to infer or impose upon the Auditor General extra duties as enshrined in Section 309(2)(d) of the Constitution to the effect that they can look into the modus operandi of the finance houses so that it is amenable to the global best practices.
One would want to ask, if you are giving US$50 000 to a Member of Parliament for CDF, does it go down to the electorate as US$50 000? One would want to question and say, what are the bank charges and withdrawal charges? What is it eventually that goes down to the final user? If we do not scrutinize all these issues, you will find that we are shortchanging not only the electorate but our Government as a whole. So, let us infer and impose upon the Auditor General using an Act of Parliament to also under his or her ambit – to also look and scrutinize these exorbitant interest rates that are being charged by finance houses so that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing and what it is given by the right hand gets to the left hand in the same measure.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if you read the newspapers or if you go on line – argument’s sake, you will find that the people that are making money these days are the Sheriff, the Deputy Sheriff, the Messenger of Court and all those affiliates who are associated with selling property of those that would have used these finance houses so that they give back to their master who is charging exorbitant charges for those that would have used those finance houses. Every day that we come to Parliament, we are accosted and greeted or hit in the face with a lot of names in the newspapers and of properties that are being sold by the Sheriff in order to compensate these finance houses. Mr. Speaker Sir, it is time that as representatives of the electorate that we put our foot down and make sure we become a voice of the voiceless and make sure we bring the finance houses to account together with the Sheriff and the Deputy Sheriff, who are Messengers of the court based on what they would have obtained in the finance houses Mr. Speaker Sir, to bring them under check so that it does not continue to bleed the economy. As long as the unsuspecting members of the community are unfairly treated and unfairly separated from their hard earned currency and income through such ways. What it means is what then goes to Treasury or what accumulates to Treasury is so minute, is such a pittance, is nothing to write home about because we have not broadened the cake. We have not broadened the base for the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development to tap into the resources of the majority of the Zimbabwean population.
Mr. Speaker Sir, remember the 2016 Budget’s theme is ‘growing the national cake.’ How do you grow the national cake and how do you use the mainstream part of the banking system if you are going to have charges that are exorbitant; that are second to none globally….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MARUMAHOKO):
Order, order Hon. Member, may you speak to the report of Public Accounts and stop getting out of the way, just stick to the report.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you for the guidance Mr. Speaker Sir. I will bring you closer home to the report. The issue of recovery that was alluded to by Hon. Mpariwa, there are people that still need to reimburse, whose tenure of recovery has been extended to November.
The recovery rate should also be coupled with the recovery interest. If we do not address the issue of interest, it becomes too exorbitant to repay, so that is closer to the report Mr. Speaker Sir. Let us make sure that first and foremost, we address the issue of interest. Where in the world do you find a United States dollar being charged interest of 23.5%. It should be reversed and redressed in retrospect up to dollarisation in 2009.
Secondly, the Auditor General, in my opinion should make recommendations that go to the Executive, that is going to give him or her another added task in subsection 2 (d), that speaks to putting the interest rates under check. They should make recommendations to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development under whose ambit they fall under. This is what is going to guide the Executive to bring an Act of Parliament that is going to make sure we unequivocally or unimpeded and immediately without fear or favour and without further ado put a stop to the bleeding of the economy by these finance houses.
They are the only people that have made interest and profit since dollarisation. If we do not take this seriously, there will be no Zimbabwe to talk about.
In conclusion, the issue of public funds and public property, as the Auditor General does his or her duty, we want to deal with the issues of transport that is utilised by the Executive and Government officials, which is not insured or licenced. It is at the detriment of our economy in that what we lose in terms of automobile and vehicles and lives that are in those vehicles that are not insured or licenced; it all comes together as one, as finance. Let us make sure that we are not separating hard currency and property. Let us make sure that, as she does her duty, she also puts this together and raises a red flag to say, as long as these vehicles are not licenced or insured – which in my view and as a
Committee of Parliament in Transport, numbering more than 200 000. We need to make sure that we encourage the Executive and Government to insure these vehicles so that those lives that are in those vehicles are also protected. I want to thank you for giving me this time.
I also want to take this opportunity; my heart goes to those families who have been bereaved and those who have been involved in a road traffic accident along Chegutu-Chinhoyi road today where we lost more than eight lives, we still have two who are critically injured who have been transferred to Harare. Mr. Speaker Sir, my heart goes to those families who have lost their loved ones, may their souls rest in peace. I thank you.
*HON. MAHOKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Hon. Mpariwa and the whole Committee for bringing this report to this august House. What pleases me is that the audit report was done by a lady auditor. I am also proud that this report has shown that all female Members of Parliament who benefited from this fund did not abuse the fund. I know we have some people who are either in this House or have left in the past Parliament, who also embezzled these funds but have not been named.
I would like to thank Hon. Dr. Gumbo, as the previous Chief
Whip, you gave us education, you told us to be careful and avoid embezzling these public funds. We are proud of women in their leadership positions because they fear to embezzle funds. When they are given money to perform a certain task, they will definitely do that. Government created Constituency Development Fund (CDF), for the benefit of the constituents’ development but now Government has since stopped disbursing CDF after realising that some Members of Parliament were going to embezzle it and no development will be realised.
My wish is that if only this august House had many women than men, this fund was going to be fully utilised as shown by what was done by the previous women Parliamentarians. Hon. Gumbo as the previous Chief Whip used to organise workshops for us and educate us on the administration of constituencies. He taught us on administration of public funds. Unfortunately, some of us simply received these funds without any awareness campaign for them on handling of public funds.
The problem is male Members of Parliament are very reckless and corrupt, hence most of them embezzled these funds. Another Hon.
Member stated that we also have some Ministers who were mentioned that they embezzled these funds. I know there are some Ministers who have been left out but also have embezzled these funds. There were some names which have been exposed in the past and we ask the
Auditor General to release these names; name and shame them. We had 15 Ministers in ZANU PF and 15 in MDC-T, we believe lots of funds were embezzled. Therefore, measures should be taken to recover these funds. We request Parliament to enact a law and regulations that lead to the recovery of these funds. The people who embezzled these funds should be brought to book and not benefit from such acts. We should show as Parliamentarians that we abhor embezzlement of funds and want honest people who are accountable and transparent with public funds. I thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me begin by
expressing my gratitude to all the Members who have contributed to this particular motion in support of the various other actions where we could implement so that in terms of our key role as Parliamentarians, monitoring and evaluation leads to good accountability and transparency. This is exactly where we are trying to get to.
Let me also hasten to say that once the Committee’s recommendations are adopted, that will enable the responsible Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, I am glad the Minister is already doing some work in terms of formulating legislation on the operations of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I heard many members speak about legislation that will guide the operations and control in terms of Members utilising the CDF.
Hon. Speaker Sir, I want to thank all the Hon. Members for the support. It tells you that when it comes to issues of development of the country and accountability, we are united as Members of Parliament. I am glad that even those Members who are not members of the Public Accounts Committee highlighted some issues that we could not come up with as recommendations. With these few remarks, let me take this opportunity to encourage the House to adopt the report but I understand the Minister who has been left with the responsibility by the Hon.
Minister has something to say before I move for the adoption. I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO) on behalf of THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE,
LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON.
MNANGAGWA): Thank you Mr. Speaker, the Vice President who is also Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has asked me to stand on his behalf and thank the Chairperson of the Committee, members of the Committee and all the Hon. Members who contributed to the debate.
He asked me to assure the Chairperson of the Committee that all the concerns that have been raised by Members of Parliament will be taken on board by his Ministry. He is also quite aware of the point that has been raised by Hon Mahoka that when CDF was introduced, by that time, the money was just deposited into our accounts and no accounting procedures were taken at that particular time and as a result we encountered these challenges. We cannot run away from them and it is a fact and a reality so those things have to be looked at squarely.
The Minister has promised all of us as Members of Parliament that the concerns that have been raised are valid, should be taken on board and that he is going to take them on board when we respond to your contributions. On that note, I want to thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me the opportunity to stand on behalf of the Vice President and make that announcement. I thank you. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. MPARIWA: Mr. Speaker, let me thank the Hon. Minister
for the positive acceptance and also noting that it is important that we work with the Parliamentarians. More importantly, for accepting the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee on behalf of the
Vice President who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
On that note, may I propose that the House adopts the Fourth
Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the findings by the Auditor-General on the 2014 Appropriation and Funds Accounts for the
Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (S. C. 19, 2016) Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT AND
INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT (HON. DR. GUMBO),
the House adjourned at Twenty Nine Minutes to Five o’clock p.m. until Thursday, 6th October, 2016.