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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 17September 2015 42-20
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 17th November, 2015
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. SPEAKER
MEETING FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS FOR GLOBAL ACTION
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members who belong to the Parliamentarians for Global Action Zimbabwe Chapter, a non-partisan international network of legislators are invited to an annual meeting to be held on Thursday, 19th November, 2015 at 12 o’clock noon in the Government Caucus Room. New members are welcome.
ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY
THE HON. SPEAKER: I have to inform the House that I have received an adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill [H.B. 2A, 2015].
APPOINTMENT TO PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES
THE HON. SPEAKER: I also have to inform the House that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders has appointed hon. members to Portfolio Committees as follows:
- D. Karoro will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Lands, Agriculture and Irrigation Development and Transport and Infrastructural Development.
- L.L. Katsiru will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
- Z. H. Makari will serve on the Portfolio Committees on Information Communication Technology (ICT) Postal and
Courier Services and Industry and Commerce.
- Dr. D. Shumba has been appointed the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.
PETITION FROM WOMEN IN MINING
THE HON. SPEAKER: In terms of Standing Order No. 187 (7), I have to inform the House that I have received a petition from Women in Mining and have since referred the petition to the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. RUNGANI: I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 and
2 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH: DEBATE ON ADDRESS
Third Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the Presidential Speech.
Question again proposed
HON. RUNGANI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18th November, 2015.
STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion in reply to the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe.
Question again proposed.
HON. RUNGANI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18th November, 2015.
AFFAIRS OF THE PREMIER SERVICE MEDICAL AID SOCIETY
HON. CROSS: I move the motion standing in my name that this
DISTURBED by the recent revelations disclosed by a forensic audit conducted into the affairs of the Premier Service Medical Aid
ALARMED that many millions of subscribers’ funds have been
used to pay senior staff massive salaries and other benefits;
WORRIED that this occurred at a time when the society was failing to pay service providers and other creditors on time; FURTHER WORRIED that the society’s members were unable to
inter alia access medical services, get treatment and purchase drugs;
CONCERNED that among those affected were civil servants who already suffer from the inability of the State to pay reasonable salaries and other emoluments;
NOW, THEREFORE, this House calls upon the Executive to:
- Immediately set in motion processes for the prosecution of all those who benefited from this scandal;
- Take remedial action to cover the funds that were paid to those individuals who were unjustly enriched;
- Investigate the role of the board of the society that was in charge of the affairs of the society at the time of this abuse of funds and if found culpable, that prosecution be extended to former board members; and
- Review present remuneration policies of the society and bring them in line with current Government policy.
HON. MARIDADI: I second.
HON. CROSS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a motion on a subject which has received considerable attention in the media in the past six months and something which shocked the country at large. I rise because absolutely no effective action seems to have been taken by the Executive to address the issues which were raised in the various reports that have been in the media.
I want to pay tribute to The Sunday Mail for its aggressive and honest exposure of several major incidents in Government and the way in which Government has been managing public funds and the report which they carried in a Sunday newspaper on the Premier Service Medical Aid Society is one of those. I raise this because in my view, white collar crime of this nature has become a serious matter in Zimbabwe. We have seen the collapse of banks. Since 2013, ten commercial banks have gone into liquidation. The worst of these was
Interfin where over US$100 million of shareholders and depositors’ money was taken by the directors and absolutely no prosecutions have happened as a consequence. I do not believe that even the report on Interfin has been tabled with the relevant Committees in Parliament or with the House itself.
In the case of Tetrad, there were US$19 million of insider loans to Directors which eventually led to the demise of the bank. Again, no action was taken. We now have the maladministration which has been revealed in NSSA. More than a year ago, the Public Accounts
Committee of this House reported to the House on the maladministration of the affairs of NSSA and called publicly for the dismissal of the Chief
Executive. Absolutely no action was taken by either the Minister or the Chairman of the board at the time. It is only now that the Minister has appointed a new active board to NSSA, that the board has taken the steps which we called for more than a year ago and suspended the entire executive structure of NSSA.
Let me remind the House, Mr. Speaker, that NSSA is the custodian of nearly US$4 billion of national funds, being the accumulated resources contributed to NSSA by workers over the last 23 years. In addition to that, NSSA is by far in a way the largest financial institution in the country handling revenues of nearly US$300 million per annum. The way in which these executives have behaved, gives me the sense that they feel they are immune, that they are protected from any kind of action which might call them to account. These are directors working in the public sector and in my view, Mr. Speaker Sir, this kind of thing has to be brought to book.
If you steal a cow worth US$400 from a farmer, you go to jail for a mandatory nine years. We have these people who have been stealing public funds still on the loose, in fact, enjoying their ill gotten gains. The losses to the general public allowing the closure of ten commercial banks was in excess of US$1 000 million in depositors’ funds. Mr.
Speaker, really, are we taking this kind of thing seriously?
The Premier Service Medical Aid Society is 70% funded by the State. We appoint a third of its board of directors and it is the responsibility of two ministries - the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. In fact, last year our contribution to the society was US$140 million on behalf of over 200 000 civil servants who are members of the society and whose access to health was imperiled by the actions of the Chief Executive and his senior staff.
If I can just highlight for the benefit of members here what they did. Over a period of five years, which was the length of time which was studied by the forensic audit team, 11 executives at the society drew
US$22.8 million dollars in allowances and US$86.9 million in salaries.
On that, we paid another US$9 million in taxation. That represents US$119 million for 11 executives over a period of five years. Mr. Dube, the Chief Executive Officer of that amount drew US$23 million, his salary was US$13 000 a day for the entire period. Hon. Speaker Sir, it does not end there – [HON. MEMBERS: Laughter] - I do not think this is a laughing matter, I think this is extremely serious that this man was able to get away with this for all these years, while we had members sitting on the Board of Directors who were responsible and our representatives on the board were senior civil servants and yet nothing was done about this theft of public resources.
If we go on, in 2012, Mr. Dube, his secretary and his driver – I mean how bizarre can you get? He included his secretary and his driver in the deal. The three of them drew US$3m, Dube drew US$2.7m in four months, this is US$675 000 a month or US$22 500 a day. The other US$300 000 was shared between his secretary and his driver. One looks at this and we ask, what kind of planet does this man live on? During this time he was a very prominent member of our society, he was the head of ZIFA. He remained the head of ZIFA despite these disclosures until very recently when he was kicked into touch by the new Minister.
Dube’s medical aid claims over the same period of time totaled nearly a million dollars, he claimed US$932 000 in medical expenses in the same period of time pamusoro pesalary - [Laughter] -
Hon. Speaker Sir, I just want to round this off with some really bizarre figures from this forensic audit. Dube paid himself a holiday allowance every time he went on holiday, he paid himself on top of his salary an allowance of US$2 000 a day and he paid himself US$1 000 for his wife, they drew US$3 000 a day whenever they went on holiday. The total amount in 5 years was US$540 000. This is not a joking matter, this is sickening, and it really represents the worst possible example of being prolifigate in public affairs that I have ever seen. The total drawn down as travel and subsistence on business in this period by the same individual was US$3.1million dollars.
I break down some of these additional charges; he drew US$130 000 as travel allowance for his son-in-law and his wife. He took US$300 000 as expenses for ZIFA. He was given cash transfers which he converted later into personal loans for US$770 000. His board fees over this period of time were US$407 000. When finally we succeeded in getting rid of him, he left behind debts - unpaid doctors bills of US$119 million. Now, Hon. Speaker, the question is what do we do about this? When I approached the Medical Society for a copy of this forensic audit which was completed in February this year, not last month, in February I was denied this report. Even so, we have had this report for 9 months without any action from the Executive whatsoever.
Hon. Speaker, we have to ask ourselves the following questions: what was the culpability of directors of the society at this time? Surely, I have been a director of companies, I have been a senior executive in business, and I know what it is to be a director and to be accountable for the affairs of the organisation you are running. We have got to examine the culpability, not just for Dube and his other 10 senior executives because there is more than just Dube, they are all guilty of similar prolificacy. What was the culpability of the board? I do not understand why there has not been a full public enquiry into this matter? This is not peanuts, this is a huge sum of money, the total budget of this House is US$20m a year, and this scandal involves US$119m. Get that into perspective, I think the total cash allocated to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education this year apart from salaries is US$10 million. This man here used 10 times that during his period of office and nothing is done. Hon. Speaker, I hope the House is going to be totally united on this and I hope that we are going to pass this motion with all the force at our disposal. We are going to demand that the Minister appears here personally and gives us an account of what he has done about this matter
– [HON.MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
The second fundamental issue, Hon. Speaker is that under what authority did this man draw these salaries and allowances? Did he have the authority of the board? If he did not have the authority of the board, then this is straight forward criminal matter and Dube should be in jail. If it was not authorized by the board, then Dube should be investigated and pursued by the Attorney General and the Prosecutor General.
Thirdly, there is need for the forensic audit to be passed to the Prosecutor General and the police for investigations and prosecution – that has not been done and I ask the question, why has it not been done?
This is a public institution, this is a society, where is the transparency? If this kind of thing is being revealed in the media why was it not submitted to the police for prosecution as soon as possible thereafter?
Fourthly, what about recovery of these funds? What are we going to do, this man must have been accumulating assets, maybe he is one of the chefs who is building these giant houses in Borrowdale Brooke. Surely, we have got to go after this man and his colleagues. What should happen in this particular case that this man’s estate and his colleague’s estate should be sequestrated by the state and the assets forfeited to the country – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
We need to ask ourselves the question, what is the role of the Minister of Health and Child Care in this affair? I was deeply disturbed to discover that the Minister of Health and Child Care has accepted US$100 000 from Dube; US$70 000 of which was in excess of the actual bill that he was due to pay. Was this a bribe? Was this a consideration to the Minister for not taking action on this matter? I think that in respect to this matter, the Minister of Health and Child Care has got to appear in this House and give us an account of what he was doing. If he cannot properly account for these resources, Hon. Speaker, he must resign – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – We need to enforce it. The President himself has launched the good governance policies for the public and private sector. It is time that we enforce the rules of good governance in the society and strengthened membership, oversight and control. This situation must not be allowed to continue into the future.
I belong to a medical aid society which is run by the private sector where we use 7% of the total resources of the society as costs. I do not know what proportion of the income of the PSMAS this was, in 2014 we paid them US$140m, here is US$120 million being consumed by 11 people.
Then finally Mr. Speaker, we need to broaden the exercise to cover all Medical Aid Societies, who now represent a US$1 billion a year industry and provide medical cover or the health needs of a million people. If we are going to protect the public interest and the interests of the people who elected us into this House, we need to make sure that they are served by the institutions that are created to look after their welfare. Medical Aid Societies are one of those.
Let us make sure that this is not also happening in other Medical Aid Societies where similar maladministration of public accounts may have become the norm. There is a need for us in this House to be united on this issue. This is not a party political issue but this is a national issue and we need to get rid of this cancer in our society. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker.
HON. SPEAKER: Order, I have to recognise the presence in the
Speaker’s Gallery of students and teachers from Hillside Junior School in Bulawayo Province. You are most welcome.
HON. MARIDADI: I wish to congratulate and thank the mover of this motion Hon. Cross for being so eloquent and providing us with those figures that are frightening. I am very musically inclined Mr. Speaker. There is a song by Bob Dylan, American rock music star, which is entitled “Sweet-heart like you” He says in that song, you steal a dime they throw you in jail, “You steal a million they make you king.
This is what describes the situation in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker, the Chief Executive of MTN in South Africa earns
ZAR48 million a year inclusive of bonuses. MTN turns over more than ZAR340 billion a year and Mr. Sifiso Dayengwa justifiably earns that money. Here, we have a Medical Aid Society which does not make a profit and fails to pay for its services and fails to pay employees. The least paid employee at PSMAS, who is a cleaner, takes home about US$198 while the CEO, Mr. Cuthbert Dube takes home US$540 000 a month. This is much more than the Executive Chairman of Coca Cola who is based in Atlanta, Georgia in USA who does not take home that kind of money. Coca Cola is an international company with a turnover that is more than the combined GDP of all the 15 SADC countries and yet he earns less than Cuthbert Dube, a person who works in Zimbabwe, which has a GDP of less than US$4 billion.
Mr. Speaker, Zimbabwe has failed to go to the World Cup and to the Africa Cup of Nations under the watch of Cuthbert Dube. He is elected to run ZIFA, in charge of the biggest sport in the country soccer, participating in international tourneys and Zimbabwe fails to do anything. What this means is that Zimbabwe celebrates failure. On the board of PSMAS sat two Permanent Secretaries. One of them took home US$240 000 in board fees in one year while the other one took US$170 000. They are still operating as Permanent Secretaries and nothing has been done to them. We are in this House talking to ourselves and getting blue in the face while my friend, murungu is getting yellow in the face [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] but what we know is that Government will not and does not take action against people that have committed gross corruption.
HON. SPEAKER: Order, did you mean Hon. Cross
HON. MARIDADI: Yes, my good friend Hon. Cross. If you go to the Magistrates Courts and sit in the gallery in one of the courts that try fraud, cases that are brought before the magistrates are cases of fraud of corruption of a police officer who took a bribe of US$60 on the highway to Bulawayo, a junior officer at ZB bank who converted
US$1200 of his employer’s money to his own use and a ZUPCO driver who sold tickets for US$36 and converted the money to his own use.
Those are the type of people that are tried at the Magistrates Courts. I have never been to the Magistrates Courts and seen somebody being arraigned for stealing money, the way money has been stolen at PSMAS.
What this House needs to do as a way forward to show that we have teeth, is to bring the Minister of Health to account. Firstly, the Minister of Health must tell this House why he was given US$100 000 which he did not deserve from PSMAS, after which we then quiz him on the action that his Ministry has taken on the issue of PSMAS. Mr. Speaker, we have young doctors who have spent 7 years at school reading medicine, such a difficult field of study. They are employed by Government and earn US$350 to US$400 because our Government has no money. When this guy then goes to work for a private surgery on call, he does not get any money because his boss, the owner of the surgery is not getting any remittances from PSMAS because Cuthbert Dube and 10 Executives have taken all the money, yet this Government keeps quite about it.
The role of Government is to look out for the interest of the afflicted in our society, which are the interests of the poor. This Government is not doing that. This Government can only look after the interests of the afflicted and the poor by taking people like Cuthbert Dube to jail. I do not think you need a competent Magistrate but an ordinary Magistrate and an ordinary Prosecutor. For all we care, Cuthbert Dube could hire the services of George Bizzos but there is no way he will avoid a custodial jail term, he will have to do jail time.
I had occasion to fly to South Africa one day and I met Mr. Dube in the departure lounge. The guy could not walk. He was in crutches and was looking sickly. I said to myself, here is a man who is running the biggest medical aid society in the country and he is the President of the biggest sport in the country but he cannot help himself or walk on his own two feet. How does that happen? I looked at him and said if anything, this man should either be in hospital or in an old people’s home. What is he doing running PSMAS. That is the reason why he was able to take all this money because to him it did not matter.
However, what pains me the most is that we have two Permanent Secretaries who have taken money out of PSMAS but Government has not done anything about them and for me, this is the most painful thing. Cuthbert Dube could have taken all the money in the world and I would not care a bit or lose any sleep, but for a Permanent Secretary taking US$240 000 of money that he knows he does not deserve. I think it is an indictment on the administration of this country and this august House and something must be done about it and it must be done now. –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]- 75% of the problems that we have in this country are as a result of corruption and not anything else. It is not corruption by a Constable based at Mabvuku Police Station who is taking a bribe of US$2.00 from Kombis or a journalist at some newspaper who is telling legislators to give him US$15.00 so that he writes nicely about them, it is not that. I am talking of corruption which has an impact on the GDP of the country.
Hon. Speaker, I cannot even start to enumerate on the parastatals like ZBC. I gave ZBC 12 years of my early adult life and here is a guy who becomes the Chief Executive. His highest qualification is some language degree at some institution and his salary is US$35 000.000. You have somebody who is earning US$35 000.00, who has no known qualifications and a provincial medical doctor earning US$500.00 - how does that happen? You go to NRZ, when NRZ employs a Chief
Executive, the first thing they do is buy him an executive car. The Chief Executives of NRZ, ZESA and any parastatal you can think of, they drive Mercedes Benz S350, with a value of about US$250 000.00. Here is a parastatal which is struggling, which has been in the red for as long as I can remember, but the Chief Executive is rolling around town in a Mercedes Benz S350 - how does that happen?
Maybe they will come back to me and say Hon. Maridadi, Government Ministers are also rolling in Mercedes Benz S350 but the same Government does not have money. I will say look, collectively let us do something about it. I think those are the issues that we must look at. I do not know why this Parliament cannot have the teeth to invite the
Minister of Health and Child Care as soon as possible so that he accounts. The level of impunity in this country is unbelievable. It is that impunity that this House must deal with. Hon. Speaker, I have said a lot and the Hon. mover of this motion has said a lot, but I think what I need to say in conclusion is that corruption must be dealt with. The duty of this House is to deal with corruption and let us start by showing our teeth to PSMAS and let us use our teeth by hauling before this Parliament, the members of the Executive, the Permanent Secretaries who took that money and that money should be returned to the people of
Zimbabwe and should not be used by a few individuals. I thank you. [-
HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.]-
HON. CHASI: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I would like to start by commending the mover of the motion Hon. Cross for a very robust and informative presentation on the situation as it obtained in the financial sector as well as the situation that relates to PSMAS. I am not going to regurgitate what has been said by the two previous speakers but I just want to add that with respect to the financial sector, I suggest that there is a complete need to revise the duties of directors that sit on financial institutions boards. As has been demonstrated, it is quite clear that they have either been active participants in the commission of crimes or they have aided and abated commission of crimes or they have simply been careless and reckless as to what happens in the financial institutions. Anyone who has a familiarity with the composition of a bank’s capital, they say 80% to 90% of a bank’s capital is composed of depositors funds, which means that in essence, it is funds that belong to ordinary people of this country, who are completely unrepresented in the governance of financial institutions.
I am hopeful that as we begin to consider the amendments to the Banking Act, we will be able to recommend representation of depositors on these boards, and I think that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development should be able to appoint seasoned bankers who represent him as the representative of the public on those boards. I think that will help a lot. I also share the view that as a country, we have not done much in dealing with those who looted banks. I think the company law must be revised comprehensively in that it is known that individuals will form a bank so that it can take funds out of the bank and fund a subsidiary. I think that where that occurs, the law must oblige those responsible for running those institutions to make a report to the police where funds have been stolen, but not only that, to ensure that there is cross liability between a subsidiary that is a non financial institution which has benefited from funds looted from a bank, it must be made to pay to the bank rather than exposing the fiscus to meeting those payments to depositors.
I now want to turn to the issue of PSMAS and I think it has been discussed on a number of occasions in this House. It is very disheartening. I know that the majority of members in this House are members of PSMAS. I think there is a misapprehension which suggests that PSMAS is a public institution. It is an institution that is owned by all of us here. I think that institution is crying out and I think ordinary people are crying out to this House that the governance of the institution be looked at with a view to ensuring that directors understand their positions and functions. When they do not operate in accordance with the law, they are made accountable to repay the money and where criminality is established, they must be able to answer. So, I have no hesitation in associating myself completely with the motion that has been suggested by Hon. Cross. I think if this House fails to take remedial action, both relative to the financial institutions and also with particular reference to PSMAS, it will be a very serious indictment on this House.
I am hopeful that an opportunity will arise where individuals who have looted funds from these institutions, clearly the figures that are being mentioned, I am sure they are not even sustainable en masse, if their Medial Aid Society is there and if the situation continues without rectification, then the whole thing will become a joke. I want to confirm that I am personally very indebted to Hon. Cross for the in-depth analysis and the effort that he put in this motion. I hope that each member of this House will be able to get a copy of this report and study it in its completeness. I thank you.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Let me start
by thanking Hon. Cross for the motion that he has brought forward on PSMAS. In as far as I am concerned, what I see in this House is that all people are in agreement concerning this issue. Normally we disagree on issues in this House but today, the PSMAS issue is a painful issue and has united us. In my opinion, the issue that is being debated in this House is very pertinent. There was an audit that was carried out and up to this day, it has not been made public, it is being kept a secret. Mr. Speaker Sir, in my opinion, Hon. Cross seems to have come across the forensic audit. I came across this forensic audit and it is quite lengthy. I read it and realised that the things in the report cannot be kept a secret. The moment we keep quiet about it shows that as the people of
Zimbabwe, we are insane. If we are sane, I do not think we will be quiet about it.
Madam Speaker, what I am saying right now is that, the PSMAS workers, from the doctors’ right through to the lowest paid, have not been given their salaries for the past six months. However, someone was earning US$500 000. If that money was channeled towards the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB), we would say that they were doing it for food security purposes not for their own selfish benefits. I do not think he only embezzled funds from PSMAS but also from the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) where he was. The same person has done this and we have kept quiet.
We asked when we were at the Budget Seminar in Victoria Falls how this issue is being handled and the Minister of Finance and
Economic Development said that PSMAS is a stand-alone company. We asked at what point Ministers get involved. We want to expose the truth that, if PSMAS is an independent company, how did the Ministers get involved, the Board was nominated by the Minister. Probably we can be updated by the former Deputy Minister, who is now a backbencher on how this used to operate.
This is not a laughing matter; these are some of the issues which need to be talked about. In China, such people cannot be left scot-free. However, you will realize that anyone related to them is also affected and will be arrested because they will have had a share in the spoils of the embezzlement. We might fail to reason about the PSMAS issue and think that it is the Government, but that is not it. As Parliamentarians, we are the Government, we are the ones who build the nation. For the Government to function, it is because of us in this House. We are responsible for drafting the legislation and if we are a Government, we should ensure that those who embezzled funds should be arrested.
We should unite and speak with one voice so that the people whom we represent know that they have voted for good representatives in
Parliament, particularly for those people who are subscribing to PSMAS. It is painful that you cannot even get eye ointment from PSMAS. It is even difficult for children to be attended to, but we are seated here watching while subscriptions are being deducted without any service rendered.
We need to look at issues that affect the nation. Other countries will mock us and we become a laughing stock if we fail to deal with this issue. For us to be called a nation, we need to stamp out corruption. If we let those involved in corruption scot-free, then we are not doing anything. We should not sit back and relax. I think that as Hon.
Members, we need to show that we are powerful and we are Members of Parliament elected by the people.
What surprises me is that, one day I asked where the reports that are brought in here finally go to and I heard you as the Chairperson say that it is given to the Ministers concerned. You cannot get the Minister concerned to act because he is also part of the corruption team, that will never happen. The important issue here is that the PSMAS issue does not require us to disagree. It is not about party affiliation, it is an issue that affects the nation at large.
The nation can borrow if there is no money in the national fiscus for acquiring certain goods and services. The nation can borrow money from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and other parastatals. However, if PSMAS becomes personally owned and cannot serve the people, I do not think that is correct. The Hon. Members who moved this debate are right.
I do not think it is a challenge for the Ministers concerned to come here and update us and enlighten us on what is happening. We have become fools before the nation because of one person. Those Ministers should come and explain. Mr. Speaker Sir, as the Speaker, you have powers to summon them. We used to mourn that Ministers were not coming to Parliament, but you have told us that they are now coming. Is there any problem in summoning the Ministers to come and explain to us what was happening? Is it a problem for him to explain what the board members were doing? Is it a problem for them to explain if we say no one is above board except the President? What then can stop these people to come into this House and enlighten us on what is happening? If they refuse, then they should be brought to book.
What I am saying is that, these people must be arrested. Property should be attached, they bought buses, houses and even properties in South Africa. Let us engage investigators who will investigate these issues. In this Parliament, we once said that we need to have our own anti-corruption commission and we were denied the privilege and told that there is an Anti-Corruption Commission in place. However, up to this day, it is not functioning, nothing has been said, they are just quiet.
What I am saying is that, I am not happy at all. It is difficult for me to go to my constituents and explain to them on what is happening, particularly the teachers. It is difficult because if they go to Birchnough Hospital, they are told that their medical aid is not valid and yet medical subscriptions are being deducted on a monthly basis.
The money that is deducted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is a challenge because it is not being remitted on time. If the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development was remitting these subscriptions on time, probably there would not be any debts. Now that we have realized it, we know that we cannot sit in boards, but let us find people who are Members of Parliament like me who will go and investigate. We have those from the labour, they are here. We do not want our employees to suffer, we have Hon. Mashakada, Hon. Mpariwa and myself, who were there in the labour unions, I do not know what they looked at.
I do not have much to say. Even at a funeral people do laugh. So let us talk about this. As we talk, we are not saying they witnessed corruption but the question is, how did it happen during your time? We are not saying that they did it. We want proof from them if ever they witnessed such cases. This issue Mr. Speaker…
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, it is Madam Speaker.
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I heard Hon. Chombo referring to a female village head as “headman”.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Member, you cannot compare Madam Speaker with a headman – [Laughter] – Hon Member, can you please withdraw that statement. You have been talking of the strength of Parliament and there is a Presiding Officer presiding over all those Members of Parliament. If you compare that Presiding Officer with a headman, I think you are out of order. Can you please withdraw that statement?
*HON. CHINOTIMBA: I withdraw my statement Madam Speaker. I do not have much to say now. What I have raised is that we need to show the world that as Hon Members, when we start an issue that will build the country, we unite without being partisan, either as ZANU PF or MDC. This is what builds a nation. Normally, when issues are raised we behave like children but this is not a minor issue. We need to work together. With these few words, I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MANGAMI: Thank you Madam Speaker. May I also begin by thanking the mover of this motion Hon. Cross. This is a very important motion which has been brought to this House because it has been a topical issue in terms of extortion of public funds by different organisations in the society.
The mismanagement of funds Madam Speaker, is a criminal offence which the law has to take its course and those that do that must be arrested, tried and jailed. As Parliament, we should come up with specific action to be taken on such behaviour. I was actually wondering that it appears society on its own does not pay people according to what they contribute. It is very unfair. When you look at the amount that is given to one who is at management level; the amount that very person gets in comparison to the rest of those that are below is just very unfair because you cannot be a manager working alone with the rest of the group. I think it should be revised that society does not pay people according to what they contribute.
I was wondering one day why a footballer who plays 90 minutes is given $15 000 per game for entertaining people. I said to myself, is this what society requires? I also looked at management and the role that they play. They do not do it alone but they do it with the rest of the people in the company and look at what they earn. It is very sad. I was suggesting that looking at NSSA on its own, it is collecting monies from almost everybody in Zimbabwe and you are only given pension when you are at 65 years. Our life expectancy has been reduced and most of us do not reach 65 years. It means that there are a lot of monies which are at NSSA which are not being accounted for and earned for no good reason. Those whose monies are deducted from their salaries and do not accumulate to stages where they can be refunded because you only work for a few years whilst your monies are being deducted like what is happening at the moment; those monies are difficult to audit so that
NSSA can account for them. We need to have robust laws that look at specific issues including the boards that we have in these parastatals, they also have some allowances which they are given as incentives. A lot of mismanagement is happening at parastatals whilst these boards are there. There is need to interrogate the boards that we have whose parastatals have mismanaged the funds. What is the purpose of such boards? If they do not have a purpose, then they should be disbanded because they are not doing their job. Most of the time, it is the public who raise awareness that the boards are not doing their work.
It is very important that as Parliament, we also look at issues that already have been taking place especially at PSMAS. I am a contributor to PSMAS. I pay $50 per month but right now, I am asked to pay $10 as co-payment whenever I visit a doctor. One wonders what is happening to my $50. We must have some of these groups reduced because they have become too big for them to be controlled. They should be reduced to a smaller unit because right now they seem not to be manageable. I want to conclude by suggesting that, of the issues that are being raised by Hon. Members here, I think we should come up with a conclusion and recommendations that are going to be adhered to in this House. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. MAJOME: I thank you Madam Speaker for this opportunity to debate this very important motion. I want to begin by also joining other Hon. Members before me who have paid the fitting recognition to Hon. Cross, for moving such a heart rending and critical motion that affects the lives and deaths of the multitudes of millions of members of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society who are mainly in the public sector but also in the private sector.
I want to whole heartedly throw myself in support behind this very noble motion and indeed, it is very specific prayers of the specific action that must now finally be taken to address this very embarrassing - I cannot find a suitable word Madam Speaker. This blemish on us as Zimbabweans that for years, it is more than a year or two years now since the very shocking and horrific levels of self payment by officials at the Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) have been paying themselves. Even songs have been composed and stand-up comedians had a field day of describing the exploits of what they have called Cashbed Dube. Radio DJs and stations continue to talk about this but we have been talking about this for years now and Zimbabweans have been laughing about it. I think it is because they expect Parliament to finally move this motion to cause the Executive to take action and stop this very terrible thing.
Madam Speaker, we were in Victoria Falls a few weeks ago for the Pre-budget Seminar. The Hon. Speaker exhorted us, as well as the theme of the Conference and also even the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. They gave us a lot of work to do and they also gave us very difficult homework of how to grow the national cake. We can talk as much as we want about creating conditions for attracting foreign direct investment but also even to allow those Zimbabweans who are here in the country and have money that they are sitting on to release it into the productive sector. We can talk about it but as long as we do not take serious steps as a nation to stop corruption but we allow the most horrific forms of theft to go on against the public, then no one will take us seriously. No one will take Zimbabwe as a destination that is worth investing their money in because it will only show that we are not serious as a nation in; firstly safeguarding the little money that we have, we do not value our human capital and we also are not serious about safeguarding the property of others and making sure that it is not stolen.
Madam Speaker, the issue of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society is one that anyone all over the world can look at and say Zimbabwe is one of the most corrupt places in the world. They will be justified to say so because if there is such corruption that is nauseating and choking people and nothing is done about it; the perpetrators themselves are actually celebrating as was said by other hon. members before me. Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe will continue scoring the dubious distinction of ranking highest on the most corrupt nations in the world because we are not taking the measures that we should take and we should start to do so now.
I want to say that I am in support of this motion and the action itself that must be taken. I want to just maybe dwell on the particular action that the mover of the motion, Hon. Eddie Cross wants to do. As I indicated Madam Speaker, I am throwing myself whole heartedly in support of his particular prayer. I cannot avoid talking about the Constitution because that is the best instrument that we have in this country for enforcing the law as well as combating corruption. In this particular case of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society, the failure of the Executive arm of Government to reign in these very rotten apples that we have is a symptom of general disregard of the provisions of our Constitution. It appears that while Zimbabweans voted for this Constitution in record numbers by 97% in the Referendum, it does not look like we actually share the founding values that are enshrined in this Constitution. Those founding values that the people of Zimbabwe themselves say they want to be governed by, if we look at those, there is no space whatsoever for corruption of any kind but also for this kind of crime. The values that Zimbabweans say they want to be governed by, are the rule of law itself and where in the world do you have a society that says it respects the rule of law where people steal in broad day light. They steal in the name of the Government and from Government offices and they are allowed to go scot free. Unfortunately Madam Speaker, some of them are the chief spokespersons of the Government itself and this is no secret.
The Secretary of the Ministry of Information who usually speaks on behalf of the Government did himself openly admit to the media that yes indeed he took unholy amounts of allowances from the Premier Services Medical Aid Society. He surrendered himself and said he is willing to face the music if and when the music is ever played on him but up to now, no such music has been played. When I think about officials like that, my question to them is that; why are you waiting for the long arm of the law to catch up with you when you yourself admitted in public that you did something wrong and you know that you did something wrong. You know that you have pilfered from the public pocket – do the honourable thing and just resign. So Madam Speaker, as I debate this motion, I am making an appeal to all those people who are fingered in the report of the Auditor-General and Madam Speaker, allow me to take my hat off and pay homage to our Auditor-General Madam Chiri, for relentlessly and without fear or favour continuing to expose this kind of rot that is bedeviling our society. It makes me proud as a woman of Zimbabwe that one of us is unflinching in the face of duty and is unflinching in the face of danger, but we must not let her down. I think that the motion by Hon. Cross allows us to, finally as Parliament do something about those reports and the sordid revelations that she makes day in day out. Let us reward such diligence and such hard work with results.
Let us indeed resolve on this motion and make sure that all those people who pilfered this money do face their fate but as I said, let them resign because Mr. George Charamba publicly admitted in the media that he got undue allowances. So, I want to appeal to him Madam Speaker, through you to do two things: 1) let him pay back that money that he took. He should not wait for taxpayers’ money again to be wasted in hauling him before the courts. 2) Let him also resign because it does not augur well for a nation where you have people speaking on behalf of the Government but who themselves are in the frontline of taking away from poor civil servants who contribute their money, drip by drip and those companies in the private sector who are also working in very difficult circumstances but are contributing to this society.
Madam Speaker, allow me to speak on the prayer itself of the motion. The first thing that Hon. Eddie Cross prays for, is that we implore on the Executive to take measures for the prosecution of all those who benefitted from the scandal. He could not have said it better. I cannot help but feel a little bit pessimistic because if we are to ensure that those who pilfered and those who got these gains in an ill way are prosecuted, I am not very confident that that prosecution is to be done.
For that to be done, we need the Prosecutor-General’s office to rise up to the occasion and rise to the level that is required by this Constitution. I worry because just a few weeks ago, there was a very big hullabaloo in the press about the Prosecutor-General himself, who is appointed in terms of Chapter 13 of the Constitution. He should be the person who is like, in those comics is the super hero who must swoop down and kick out all the bad guys out of town. Unfortunately, just a few weeks ago, the media was hogged by stories that he was actually refusing to prosecute certain people who are suspected of committing crimes. Instead of acting as the chief public protector from crime, he was acting as the chief protector of people who are suspected of committing crime.
Madam Speaker, we definitely need an appetite for law enforcement in the office that is responsible for enforcing crime because it is no wonder that the Cashbed Dubes and their accomplices are roaming free because there does not appear to be appetite at all in the
Prosecutor General’s office to catch up with and to bring to book all those people concerned. We need to see a change. There needs to be public confidence in that and it is my hope that the Public Prosecutor demonstrates that he does have an appetite to do the work that Zimbabweans repose trust in him to do because if he does not have the appetite, the honourable thing is for him to resign. There are so many lawyers who are experienced who are able to do this work so that there be an appointed person in that office who leads that office, who shows that they are willing and able and they are unflinching at the sight of crime that they will prosecute. It does not matter whether it is a Member of Parliament or a high ranking person that they will indeed prosecute.
Madam Speaker, I just want to draw the august House’s attention to the immense power that the Prosecutor General’s Office has in terms of the Constitution. In terms of Section 259(1), the Prosecutor General may actually direct the Commissioner General of Police to investigate or to report anything which in the Prosecutor General’s Office relates to an offence or an alleged offence or a suspected offence. Madam Speaker the offences here are clear. The alleged ones are clear and the suspected ones are clear. If the Prosecutor General is exercising his mind in a rational manner and in good fail, I cannot imagine why his opinion would not cause him to want to order the Commissioner General.
Madam Speaker, the Constitution provides that when the Prosecutor General directs the Commissioner General to investigate in particular cases like this, it specifically provides that the Commissioner General has no option but to comply. That is immense power Madam Speaker. It is power to cause the police to police. It is to police the police themselves. It provides that the Prosecutor General must actually proceed to do so. It says that the Commissioner General of Police must comply with that direction. It is my hope that the Prosecutor General will indeed give that direction to the Commissioner General because the Commissioner General is going to comply because the Constitution requires him to do so.
Madam Speaker, if I may also talk briefly about the other, if I may say God’s forsaken institution that is also established by Section 13 of the Constitution. I believe those in the western world who are of a superstitious turn and think that 13 is an unlucky number and it does appear that unfortunately, when you look at the institutions that are established in Section 13 of our Constitution to combat crime, they seem to be very unlucky indeed because that is where we find the Prosecutor
General’s Office and the Anti-Corruption Commission. It looks like we need do break this jinx that these particular institutions are facing.
Where is the Anti-Corruption Commission? Hon. Chinotimba eloquently stated here that Parliament at one time decided to appoint a Select Committee but was stopped by Parliament ironically, in deference to the Anti- Corruption Commission that does not exist, dare I say that is a ghost. I am informed that our Standing Rules and Orders did its bit. It interviewed the Commissioners in terms of the Standing Rules and
Orders and in terms of the Constitution, but up to now it is a phantom Commission. There is no Anti-Corruption Commission in place and therefore these recommendations by the Auditor General are unlikely, without all those measures in our system, to help them. They are likely to continue being unlucky and being jinxed by the number 13. It is my hope that the august House moves that motion and makes a resolution to ensure that all those steps are done and we have an Anti-Corruption Commission running and going.
Sadly, the only memory that we have is that we seem to be a country which is remembered also for the wrong things. The only memory I have of the Anti-Corruption Commission before its term passed was that it was in fact the Ant-Corruption Commission itself that was being hounded by the police and being arrested. I cannot imagine a more ridiculous state of affairs. It is my hope that we turn that around.
I am also fully in support of the second proposal that there be use by the law to recover those ill gotten gains that were uncovered by the Auditor-General. Everyone who received an allowance that is undue and that is excessive must bring back that money. Yes the provisions of the law must also be used and again, I exhort the Prosecutor General to also do something that is not usually done in the prosecution of offences.
Our Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act has provisions that allow any victims of crime to be compensated without having to go to a civil court. All the Prosecutor General needs to do after the person has been convicted to invoke the magistrate to invoke those provisions, but alas! I do not see our National Prosecuting Authority led by the Prosecutor General having again an appetite and a stomach to do those things. This money must be paid back and must be paid in full. Again, Madam Speaker, I implore upon all those people, especially the ones who have publicly accepted that they got this money ill advisedly to just pay that money back and save the tax payer’s money from using the law to do it.
In winding up my support to this motion I also want to say something related to this issue of graft and corruption and the high tolerance of corruption. I think we should be embarrassed when our own honourable ministers lead the brigade of trying to cover up corruption. Very recently the Chief Executive of the Premier Service Medical Aid Society was required to be suspended and resign, but we saw our own Ministers, these members of the Executive, falling all over themselves and breaking their legs trying to make him go back. Madam Speaker, I think that it is time that this House made a very strong statement and got out the whip and makes it clear to the Executive that we expect the Executive to do its role that is to implement the law and the decisions of policy and save all those people from suffering.
Madam Speaker, in our institutions where public servants and other members of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society are using, if you visit there those places are very depressing. Anyone of us who has been unfortunate to become ill or to have had a relative who is ill will see the sorry state of affairs and the dilapidated infrastructure at West End Hospital, but also even our public hospitals Parirenyatwa, the Bulawayo United Hospital and the Masvingo Hospital. All those places where people who are poor and who cannot go to the private expensive hospitals are the ones from whom money has been spent. Madam Speaker, I hope our Hon. Ministers do their bit and get on to the side of the people and stop interfering with good governance.
Finally Madam Speaker, I want to implore Hon. Members to also lead by example. Most Hon Members of Parliament are members of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society. It is a society. It conducts an annual general meeting each and every year and it is time that Hon.
Members of this august House who are members of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society lead by example and take interest as members in the affairs of this society. We must attend that Annual General Meeting and help to restore sanity. May I implore that when the Annual General Meeting comes around, the date must be announced in this august House and all Hon. Members who are members must go and attend because last year there were very few of us. So, may I implore Hon. Members that while we demand on the Executive to take action and to see that justice is done, let us also do our bit and go and ensure that sanity is restored to this society. I thank you Madam Speaker.
HON. DR. KEREKE: Thank you Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to also add a few comments, a few views on the motion by Hon. Cross. The subject is corruption and I think the House needs to broaden the scope much wider than just PSMAS. I want to thank Hon. Cross for using PSMAS as the entry point to the discussion by the House of this animal called corruption.
I support Hon. Majome who spoke before me that we need to look at our Constitution and look at what it says. Section 119(1) bestows upon Parliament the responsibility of protecting the Constitution. What that means in my view is that whenever we see violations of the
Constitutions, it is Parliament’s duty to intervene and take action in defence of the Constitution. If we look at Section 106, (1) to (3), describes certain behaviours that Hon. Ministers should do.
One such behaviour is that an hon. member of the Executive is not supposed to be gainfully employed elsewhere whilst they are serving. You have a full Cabinet Minister who says publicly - it is called capitation in our industry, they were paying me for services I had rendered, and it is allowed to pay in excess. Meanwhile the Constitution does not allow that practice. So, I think we need to introspect and say as Parliament, let us separate matters that relate to our political demographics. Let us isolate those matters that affect the nation as a whole.
The forensic audit that Hon. Cross spoke to is very telling and I would suggest that Parliament makes a formal request for the forensic audit so that hon. members can individual go through it. To say the least it is sickening when one goes through the excesses that were prevailing at PSMAS. We need to say when you see a fire burning; you need to say what is sustaining that fire? Is it that there is someone putting more firewood or someone is putting more oxygen to it? What is sustaining the fire? I think the issue of corruption has become institutional in our country and we need to say as Parliament, perhaps to add on to Hon.
Cross’s prayer to the august House, we need to declare corruption as a major catastrophic disaster for our country.
The budget framework which was presented in Victoria Falls reduced the expected national Budget for the country to around
US$4billion which is a figure it has been static at for the past five years. We need to say for a country as rich as we are, how is it that we continue to shrink our operations to a static budget of US$4billion year in year out. The answer lies in our capacity as a country to fight this octopus this creature called corruption.
Parliament Hon. Madam Speaker did pass several statutes to deal with corruption. There is the Anti-Corruption Commission – we do have laws that deal with other criminal activities that border on the fringes of corruption. The question is why are our institutions not doing what they should be doing? Where are those institutions? That is the question which I think needs to come out very clearly from the deliberation of Parliament to then cause those institutions to account and call upon Government to take action in defence of the welfare of our nation.
The Anti-Corruption Commission would you tell you that ‘we are limited in terms of resources, we do not have resources do discharge our functions’ and several other excuses they would have. Some of them genuine but again it boils down to the work that we do as Parliament. At the time we are designing and commenting on the crafting of national budgets, I think it is time that we should look at the functionality of key of our institutions like those institutions that are instrumental to the fight against corruption. We need to ensure that they are adequately resourced; they have the capacity to then address the scourge of corruption.
In any process, we start from somewhere and I want to firmly support the motion as proffered to the august House that let us call for some sanity, some accounting at PSMAS. The forensic audits, only go so far as articulating financial prejudice, I can confirm to you that in the medical area where I do have interest elsewhere, lives have been lost as a result of the carnage at PSMAS, the financial pilferage. Lives have been lost. You get a victim of a road accident whose is holding a PSMAS medical aid cover, they go to some emergency rooms, and they are denied service. They delay for an hour, two hours, turns into a day they pass on. All those losses can be connected to the malfunctioning financial processes at PSMAS.
The argument that PSMAS is not a public institution; it is an institution where Government has no direct control; I think that is an inadmissible argument for two reasons. The first reason is that the predominant contributor dollar for dollar into PSMAS is Government itself. The second reason is that itself being society funded through public contributions, makes it an institution of public interest and Government has the duty to exercise oversight over public interest. So, I want to urge the august House that like Hon. Chinotimba said, we need to unite and perhaps it is one of those few motions where we must agree as Parliament not to debate ad infinitum, not to elongate our debate, we debate, we debate. This is a crisis topic which affects not just PSMAS, it affects GMB, ZMDC in mines, MMCZ and even ZESA where
US$2.4b was spent over the past five years. If you say where did the money go, people start to quiver, they do not give straight answers.
I want to further propose that Parliament treats this as urgent business and makes its resolution as quickly as possible, preferably even before the end of the year so that we can go into the new budget with a new air of having action points that are dealing with corruption. I want to thank you.
HON. CHIBAYA: Thank you very much Hon. Madam Speaker.
I agree with the mover of the motion and all those who have debated.
However, I have got a proposal in order to improve governance system. I propose that the boards of state enterprises and also parastatals be approved by this Parliament of Zimbabwe – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –
Hon. Madam Speaker, as I said before that I do not have much to say, only to move for this proposal to amend the motion. I am sure Hon.
Cross will agree with me and this will actually assist to improve the Government system. I thank you Hon. Madam Speaker.
HON. NYANHONGO: Thank you Hon. Madam Speaker. I
think in short I also rise to support the motion that has been raised by Hon. Cross – that is a very good motion. I also would want to thank him so much for the information that he managed to gather relating to the figures that were swindled by the society. We want to thank you so much for that. Hon. Madam Speaker, I always want to talk about action. We now need to see action being taken by the Executive. Whoever is supposed to take action must now take action. As Parliament, we are saying we want to see action being taken not later than three months and we want to hear the reports here in Parliament, because so many lives have been lost because of these things like what Hon. Dr. Kereke has said. I personally went to a private hospital, even our Parirenyatwa Hospital, with that card, I was denied services because they do not honour that because the Medical Aid Society does not pay back for the services that would have been rendered to the public. Mine is short and I am saying we support and we want action to be taken. Thank you.
*HON. MAPIKI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to thank Hon. Cross for the motion that he has moved in this House which deeply concerns us. I was looking at a situation whereby we now have 34 000 war veterans. They get a pension of US$100.00 monthly, countrywide. If we are to add it, it comes to about US$340 000.00 but when we went for the liberation struggle, we said we wanted fair distribution of resources. From 1980/1983, if we are to look at individuals, we realise that a person will never be able to earn that US$500 000.00 that was earned by Cuthbert Dube. He is now known as the Thief Executive of PSMAS, not the Chief Executive. So, I am looking at a situation whereby we sat down and we wanted Commissions like Anti-Corruption and others, but up to date, no one has been brought to book.
If we look at the departments of Home Affairs such as ZRP and
CID, there are no issues that have been investigated. From the constituency where I come from, if a person is caught with just a gram of gold that is worth US$22.00, he is given a sentence of five years but Cuthbert Dube who has stolen from the people, because the Constitution says that the Government is there to protect the Constitution, he is taking US$500 000.00 but nothing has been done. Anyone found with a twist of marijuana is given five months in jail, but on the issue of Cuthbert Dube and the money that he embezzled from PSMAS, he is still walking scot free. What I am saying is that we need to interrogate this legislation and fast-track it for people to be arrested.
We looked at the issue of Rwanda. Rwanda was involved in genocide and was given sanctions but from the time the sanctions were removed, it has done very well because it has managed to fight the issues of corruption. Here in Zimbabwe, it is just a talk shore and that is what is affecting us. I agree with Hon. Nyanhongo who said we need to act now. The action is not taking place because if the Minister is benefitting from PSMAS, he cannot take action. If a magistrate is conducting my case, there is no way that he will give me a prison sentence because probably he is a tenant in my house. Even if it is a policeman who is lodging in my house, he cannot arrest me because I am his landlord. So, the way we are fighting corruption is a challenge.
What we see is that those engaging in corruption and who should apprehend corrupt individuals are the ones engaged I corruption. My proposal is that on the issue of child marriages, we say that a person who benefits lobola from early child marriages should be arrested. So, what we are saying is that anyone who benefits from corruption should be brought to book. If that person is a Minister, he should be arrested as soon as possible. For him to be a Minister is not an opportunity. I represent people who would want to see such corrupt people arrested. If other countries have managed, for example in China two weeks ago, one of the elite who was engaged in corruption was killed. When we bring the issues about the elite who engage in corrupt activities, they are not arrested. Someone who is a nobody like me is quickly brought to book.
So, what I think is that this issue should be investigated.
The issue of Board of Directors that should be approved by the Ministers has created problems because the Ministers are now taking their puppets to become Board of Directors. So, for them to interrogate such issues, it becomes impossible. I agree with Hon. Chibaya that Board of Directors should not be chosen by Ministers so as to do away with nepotism whereby you have all the museyamwas becoming Board of Directors. That is an issue that we are also looking into and this is an issue that deeply concerns us because nothing is being done.
The issue of corruption is a challenge because even at the AntiCorruption Commission, it also needs to be interrogated. There was an issue that fuel was stolen there but nothing has been done. Hon. Cross has looked at the issue of PSMAS but I want to extend it to all Government departments. It is being talked about that in Councils, monies are being collected and yet there were circulars that were written to ensure that Chief Executive Officers do not get a lot of money. Where are the people who should be arresting such people? I think we should propose that if a Minister heads a government department for example,
if it is the Council, if the Executive is earning a lot of money and yet the circular has been sent, the Minister should be arrested because there is no enforcement of the law taking place, this has become a menace.
If we look at the issue of the budget, we went to Victoria Falls and we were told that the wage bill is taking 87%. When we asked ourselves as to why we went and spent money in Victoria Falls to discuss just 13% - because 87% is going towards wages. As Parliament, we also need to be given powers to ensure that we take measures to address this issue, not just Cuthbert Dube but all those who have been engaged in corrupt activities. Under Air Zimbabwe, we heard that something was done but now there seems to be a regression. If we behave in this way we are not going anywhere as a nation. So, my request is that once we decide that this should be done, let us do it and take action. I thank you.
*HON. MURAI: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I stand up to support the debate that is before us on corruption. In this nation, what has led to the economic challenges in our nation is corruption. We are all talking about PSMAS, but all corners of the country are engaged in corruption. I was asking on corruption, where do we stand as Zimbabwe? We are told that we are 173 out of 198, meaning that our level of corruption is very serious. Most things have been debated in this House, but I think that we are just looking at the trivial matters. What happens is that I am talking about this matter because I have experience.
Madam Speaker, last week I was in prison, I took statistics of the cases against people in prisons. There were cases of people who stole spoons and those involved in drug dealing. However, here we have an issue of a forensic audit where it is known that so and so embezzled funds, but if you go to prison, you will not find that perpetrator because he is walking around scot-free. I actually looked for him in prison and I could not find him and I could not understand what was taking place.
Madam Speaker, if we go outside, for us to say we are inadequately resourced in terms of police personnel would be a lie because there are police officers out there looking for unlawful elements. If one engages in a minor issue like the one that I committed, they will be arrested in a very short period of time. In my case, dogs, hoarses and water tankers were brought in and those who saw me being arrested thought that I would not come back. However, after two days, I was acquitted and did not have any issues. What this means is that we are not serious with the issue of corruption. We are arresting innocent people whilst we leave real candidates of crime who should be thrown into jail, people like Cuthbert Dube and others who are laughing at this august House.
We should be serious Madam Speaker on the issue of corruption. I want to speak with the same voice with all those who debated on the issue. As Parliament, we should see to it that all those who are engaged in corruption are brought to book in order to enable our economy to develop. If I continue to speak, Madam Speaker, I will end up saying unnecessary things and people will not be able to grasp the important issues. I concur with those who spoke before me that we should ensure that those involved in corrupt activities are arrested so that our work as
Parliament will be improved. I thank you Madam Speaker.
*HON. MUFUNGA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I am deeply
concerned by the motion moved by Hon. Cross. Hon. Cross has reflected that he was elected by the people of Zimbabwe and is patriotic. This motion really pained me and I would not try to explain on what has already been said. I recall that there are board members and there is a board of commission that looks into the issues of corruption. I think the board should emerge from Parliament. The members should be interrogated by Parliament and we should determine who should constitute the board. This is for the reason that, all the corruption that happened was under the eyes of those board members.
The board members happen to be relatives of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Therefore, I think Parliament should be given the mandate to elect board members. This issue will never be put to rest if we do not unite. I was thinking about the Minister of Health and Child Care and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. Those are the people who should come into the House to enlighten us on what exactly happened for this issue to go on unnoticed until today. It is disheartening that we were elected by the people and they are not getting the services we pledged to provide. Therefore we need a full day in order to debate this issue until it is exhausted.
I was thinking that as Hon. Members of Parliament who were elected by millions of Zimbabweans, we should have ensured that the people responsible for these skirmishes should have been suspended immediately, pending investigations. As the august House, if other Presidents are given 10 years in prison for engaging in corrupt activities, how about the Ministers? The issue of having Ministers heading a Ministry for five to 15 years has caused this corruption because they will get to a point where they feel no one can tell them what to do.
If you go to Muzarabani, I am well known. Muzarabani is popular for voting, but nothing is being done in terms of development because the money is being taken by corrupt people. Madam Speaker, I was thinking that the Ministers from Health and Child Care and the Public Service, Labour and Social Services should come and assist us in this
House by enlightening us on how this ‘animal’ came into being and where they were when all this was happening. Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not want to say a lot. However, I think that the Ministers should be given a term of office, if it is three or five years, it should be put in writing. This will be unlike a situation where one Minister spends so many years in a
Ministry, I am totally against that. I cannot say much. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. CHAPFIKA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I stand up in
support of the motion raised by Hon. Cross. As I stand, I want to say that it is time for Parliament to be popular and known for its existence. In other countries, the Members of Parliament are very powerful because what they would have agreed on is what is done.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no country that will develop if corruption is still rampant. All countries which have developed, their foundation is laid upon discipline. For example, in countries such as Rwanda and China, whoever gets involved in corrupt activities is thrown in prison and people are accountable for their actions. In Ghana, where I once stayed for some time, if one was to steal, they will be arrested. Every Friday, people will be taken to the beach where there would be a firing squad. It did not matter what one would have stolen, even a pen, salt or anything, all the thieves will be shot at and buried in a mass grave and they were not given descent burials because they were criminals. I am asking for your attention. Where we are as a nation, we need to take other strategies as the people of Zimbabwe in terms of the way we live and the way we operate our businesses. If you were to look at the banks and everywhere else, all our children no longer have integrity. What they are doing is that they are engaging in deals. They no longer have work ethics that develop the country. Everyone is engaged in shoddy deals so that they can earn a living. The elderly cannot do anything.
Mr. Speaker, I just thought today I would also add my voice to the motion that was raised because there are people who are suffering in this country. The wage bill in Zimbabwe is now at 90% of Government’s recurrent expenditure and it is all paying the Civil Service. Our budget is very small and you cannot compare it to other countries. Probably, it can be compared to that of Henry Ford Company. What legacy are we going to leave for our children? Are we going to leave them a legacy of corruption or a legacy of lack of integrity? The Government put good measures and good legislation that children should go to school and be educated but now this education is being used in engaging in deals because our children realise that as adults, we have failed and we are letting things go that way. Now, we are saying other people are being fired; we should be looking at a situation whether these people are working or not. If a person is at work and is working to ensure that the economy develops, we should protect them.
On the issue that is before us and I want to look at (d) part of the motion which says that review present remuneration policies of the society and bring them in line with current Government policy. That is not being done. I want us to look at that issue and ensure that the Civil Service until our economy has improved; we should put a maximum ceiling of the salary that should be earned by the people in the Civil Service because this is money being contributed by people. When we look at our economic base, no one in the Civil Service should get more than $5 000 per month. If we do that, the private sector would follow suit and adjust their salaries. The price of goods and commodities will also follow suit because in the end, no one will be able to afford them.
I have realised that countries like China got a lot of money because of the low wage bill. All the companies in this country wanted to invest in China because the wages set were quite low and China developed. What we want in Zimbabwe is an investment for us to develop but we are just well known for corruption which does not attract investment.
In further interrogating this issue, the Commission on Insurance and Pensions Funds was set up to investigate the conversion of people’s pensions and insurances because people were left poorer. People who had invested into insurances were left with nothing when Dr. Gono removed the zeros. I cannot remember how many zeros were removed. I can say more than twenty zeros were removed. Our money was now reaching up to sextillions and trillions.
The zeros that were removed were removed without consideration of when that money was put in the bank. The same formula of removing zeros was applied to the money that was banked in Z$ in 1980 when the Z$ was stronger than the British pound, to monies that were banked recently. That was robbery. There are so many people who died poor in this country. Now, the auctions have become so many because they are taking people’s property and selling it yet we are seated here in Parliament doing nothing about it.
What I am saying is that this Commission, if they do not want to extend or investigate why those zeros were removed, then there is an issue. We want to find out how those zeros were removed. Did it actually empower people or disempowered them? What happened at the Reserve Bank affected many people in a negative way. People are traumatised as what Dr. Mangudya said. Many Zimbabweans are suffering because of people who have engaged in corrupt activities and stole the wealth of people yet they are still roaming the streets scot free.
This should be interrogated to see if people were not prejudiced through this system and check what exactly was taking place during the farm mechanization period and to see whether it is true that the real price was $45 000. If it was $45 000, then it is fine. What we want is that we have come to a point where the truth has to be told and to call a spade a spade. As ZANU PF, we are the ruling party and we need to ensure that we bring each other to book. No one should be above the law. People should know that if they engaged in criminal activities, they will bear the brunt of corruption. We need to include a recommendation, that we need to institute legislation to the effect that there must be a penalty for offences related to corruption. I know they are there. They are not being implemented but we need that included in your recommendations so that they become part and parcel of the final resolution of this motion.
I support this motion because it is an issue that affects Zimbabwe.
It affects both MDC and ZANU PF and we should all unite.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER
NON-ADVERSE REPORT RECEIVED FROM THE
PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): I have
to inform the House that I have received a non adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee on the General Laws Amendment Bill [H.B 3A, 2015].
*HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I want to start by thanking Hon. Cross and the seconder Hon. Maridadi, for bringing this motion. I remained seated because most of the time the Public Accounts
Committee brings recommendations that are being brought by Hon.
Members right now. These are not new recommendations. Hon. Speaker, I implore you to go and look at the recommendations of the five reports we presented to see if the recommendations are not there.
I am happy Hon. Speaker because as the Public Accounts
Committee, when we stand up to give a report, most of the time it is just myself and my seconder who stand up and then most of the time, Hon. Members end up saying why do you not summarise and wind up the motion. It is because we are dealing with issues that touch on a lot of things.
I was happy when Hon. Majome talked of the reports that are produced by the Auditor-General. Those reports are distributed to the pigeon holes of Members of Parliament, even those audit reports from parastatals and Government Ministries. If we were to ask how many Hon. Members take the reports and read them, see the recommendations and what has been investigated, be it in parastatals or Ministries, some may say we have never seen them but they are always there. That is actually costly on the part of the Government because those books are printed and they are quite lengthy. They need to be read for us to understand what will be taking place.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I was happy because there are Hon. Members who are now helping me to speak out. With that Hon. Speaker, let me go back to the motion before you rule me out of order. You know that in 2009 Mr. Speaker Sir, people were earning US$100 and then we relaxed yet Cuthbert Dube was getting US$500 000, an amount that was able to pay the whole of Parliament for a year – that is half a million we are talking about. Mr. Speaker, for us to end there, I think there is need to work out how much money Cuthbert Dube got and what it amounts to and then his properties should be sold to ensure that we get our money back.
Hon. Speaker, when one is not healthy, there is no life. If you were to look at the issue of women, we went to a Premier hospital with one of the women members and we were told to pay a co-payment of US$50. It is a painful situation. We were given papers, of which we went round seeking treatment. I remember one year, Mr. Dube went out of the country to access medical help and from there, he was using clutches to move around. We have learnt a lot. If we continue to sing from the same hymn book and from the same tune, the song does not have any discord. So, I am happy Hon. Speaker that if there is unity in speech, our issue becomes strong.
Hon. Speaker, what has made us fail as Zimbabweans is lack of implementation; it might be Health Committee, Mines Committee or whatever. If there is no implementation of recommendations, we will not go anywhere. So, my plea is that there should be accountability in implementing the recommendations and the conclusions. The function of Parliament will be realised if we implement the recommendations and conclusions. I thank you.
HON. RUNGANI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 18th November, 2015.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. RUNGANI: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move that Order of the
Day, Number 6 be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
RESTORATION OF THE FIRST REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO
COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE, HOME AFFAIRS AND SECURITY
SERVICES ON THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT AT THE
FORBES BORDER POST ON THE ORDER PAPER
HON. MUDEREDZWA: Mr. Speaker Sir, I move the motion
standing in my name that the motion on the First Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services on the Immigration Department at Forbes Border Post (S. C.20, 2015) which was superseded by the end of the Second Session of Parliament be restored on the Order Paper in terms of Standing Order No. 152 (1).
HON. MUTSEYAMI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
On the motion of HON. RUNGANI, seconded by HON.
MUKWANGARIWA, the House adjourned at Twenty Minutes to Five