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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 27 JUNE 2017 43-74
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 27th June, 2017
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. SPEAKER in the Chair)
CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE AMENDMENT (NO. 1) BILL
[H.B. 1, 2017]
First Order read: Resumption of the Committee Stage: Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill [H. B. 1. 2017].
House in Committee.
On Clause 6:
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.
MNANGAGWA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on
page 3 of the Bill, in Clause 6, delete sub-clause (2) on lines 13, 14 and
HON. GONESE: As I have pointed out, I will proceed to debate the Clause. In debating the Clause, I just want to say to the Hon. Vice President that I did hear the response that he gave but perhaps due to the inadequacy of time there were some matters which were not adequately responded to which I would like to speak to. In particular, I would like to say that the submissions made were to the effect that let us try to improve the existing Clause by providing a safety valve and I want to reiterate that this suggestion was not only made by Members of Parliament coming from your left but also by the Chairperson of the
Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Ziyambi and in particular, this was the suggestion that instead of simply informing the Senate, instead we have a scenario where the approval of one of the Houses is sought.
In this regard, I would like to draw the attention of the Hon. Vice President to Clause 339 of our Constitution which has got separate provisions which speak to either advice or consultation. I do appreciate the argument advanced by the Hon. Vice President that he would like to have the President have the discretion to make the appointment.
However, I would want to say that in view of the sentiments expressed by some members in this august House, what we are seeking is a situation where we have some safety valves; something which can vaccinate against unfettered and unbridled discretion being exercised by an individual.
The proposal that we are making in this regard is simply to subject that appointment to the scrutiny of one of the Houses, whether it is going to be the Senate or the National Assembly. I do not think it matters too much but what is important is to look at what happens in other jurisdictions. When members in their debate referred to the American Constitution, I just want to point out that in terms of the American Constitution, their President makes the appointment of the Chief Justice with the advice and approval of their Senate and that is the clause we were seeking to have.
In his response, the Hon. Vice President made reference to the Three Arms of the State and there I agree with him. When you have got the Judiciary, it must be taken as an Arm of the State in its own right.
The Legislature is an Arm of the State in its own right and we also have the Head of the Executive. However, where I slightly have some difficulty in understanding the logic of the arguments advanced by the Hon. Vice President is where he stated that when you have got the Head of State and you have got the Three Arms of the State, the President is effectively the head of all the three Arms. If I understood him correctly, I have got some difficulty in accepting and understanding that proposition. I believe that these three Arms are separate and more importantly, the reason why you have them and why you have the doctrine of separation of powers is to have them existing separately, each one with its own specific role.
It is common cause that the main role of the Executive is to govern, that of the Legislature is to make laws and the Judiciary interprets those laws. I think it is appropriate for the Judiciary to have a say in the appointments. I know that in terms of the proposed amendment, the Judiciary does have a say but that say is only to be consulted and unfortunately Section 339 says that whenever any authority is required to consult, it is not bound by the advice given by the authority so consulted.
The reason why I am raising this point is that we have debated it before but I would think that our Constitution would be improved. If we were to say for example, as an alternative, if the Hon. Vice President is not amenable to the Legislature, either through this august House or the Senate being required to give its approval, why do we not perhaps go back to a situation where the appointment is made on the advice of the Judiciary Services Commission?
This suggestion would take care of the sentiments expressed by the Hon. Vice President in his response about the spectacle of having your prospective Chief Justice being interviewed in public. This spectacle would be removed if we simply say that the appointment is going to be made on the advice of the Judiciary Services Commission. This means the Judiciary Services Commission would have a more direct and meaningful role. The President would then be guided by the advice of that Commission which is responsible for the running of the Judiciary.
At the same time, you are now striking a balance and you no longer have a situation where your prospective three top judicial officers, which is the Chief Justice, his Deputy and the Judge President are not subjected to that spectacle. More importantly, it takes care of the concerns raised by the Executive of having perhaps the juniors interviewing their seniors or what they referred to as professional incest where you are going to have members of the Judiciary having that role to interview a person who may then become their senior upon appointment.
So, I would like to ask the Hon. Vice President to take seriously the suggestions that I am making with a view to having a constitutional provision that we can all be proud of and that in the future will serve this nation better than the amendment which is before the House. The existing clause which we wish to reiterate places too much power in the hands of one individual. Those are my submissions Mr. Chairman.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Mr. Chair. There is one observation that I have got and it speaks to the Fifth Schedule in our Constitution, in particular Part 2, Subsection 6 which relates to disagreements in terms of the Bills. The present section on this Bill, the amendment Bill of the
Constitution, Section 6 (3) in particular says, if the appointment of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice or Judge President of the High Court is not consistent with any recommendations made by the Judiciary Service Commission in terms of Subsection 2, the President shall cause the Senate to be informed as soon as is practicable.
On the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution, Part 2, Section 6 which states that where the Bill has originated, that is the place that is supposed to concur or informed. In this instance, this Bill would have originated in the National Assembly. On Section 6, in terms of disagreements between Houses, a Bill presented to the President in accordance with the paragraph is deemed to have been duly passed by Parliament in the form in which it is presented to the President. If there has been any disagreements, this Bill will need to be referred back to the National
Assembly or the National Assembly needs to be informed and not the Senate. This is my observation and I think there could have been an oversight there. It is not the Senate that is originating, it is the National Assembly and it will be referred back to the National Assembly. I thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE
LEGAL AND PARLIAMNENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.
MNANGAGWA): Mr. Chairman, I will reply for the third time the same question which Hon. Gonese has raised three times and three times I have replied. I will also reply again. The State is constituted of three pillars. No singular pillar is a State but the three pillars of State constitute the State and these pillars are the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature. These are the three pillars which constitute the State. The President is the Head of State. When these pillars are put together, then we have the President as the Head of State which has three pillars.
However, the Constitution provides that one pillar of the State which is the Executive is headed by the President who also rises up to head the State. I said this and I am repeating. If it was possible to say it in Shona, I would have said it but it is difficult. I believe he is able to understand but he continues to ask the same question.
What the American Constitution says I think is suitable to America. We are stating what is suitable to Zimbabwe. The appointment of the Chief Justice will be done by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission. It is very clear in the Constitution that for every office that falls vacant, that of the Chief Justice included, there is need to have three nominees for each vacant position. In the case of the Chief Justice, the President has to submit three nominees to the Judicial Service Commission for the purpose of consulting the Judicial Service Commission in relation to qualifications, probity and integrity. This is then ranked and recommendations are made to the President. The President has the discretion to select from the three as evaluated by the Judicial Service Commission. That I have already said – I am only repeating because he is repeating the same question.
With regards to Hon. Nduna, I did not really understand his argument but we are providing that where the Judicial Service
Commission has made a recommendation which the President has not followed, we require him to notify the Upper House, the Senate. That is the provision which we have put. I thank you.
Amendment to Clause 6 put and agreed to.
Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed.
- [HON. GONESE: Divide the House!]-
Clause 7 put and agreed to - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. GONESE: Mr. Chairman, we challenged your ruling on Clause 6 and we are entitled to do that. We have challenged your ruling and you have not listened.
On a point of order….
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, please take
your seat. We are already past that.
But I was on my feet and I challenged your
ruling. I think it is not fair. Can you allow me to speak? I have a point of order.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I have already made a ruling, where were you?
HON. GONESE: I was here. You were ignoring me. I was here and I said point of order but you were ignoring me. Obviously, we cannot proceed. I was here and I said divide the House.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Just take your seat. Hon. Gonese, resume your seat - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
HON. GONESE: I am saying I have a point of order. I stood up and you ignored me. You cannot do that Mr. Chairman. When I ask you, you must respond to me.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: When I said those of the same opinion, your number was small.
HON. GONESE: How do you know?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: How do I know? Do I have
to account for what I hear?
HON. GONESE: You have to explain when I challenge your
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: How do I challenge when you were quiet…
HON. GONESE: No, I was not quiet. You were ignoring me and looking at - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: No, I was not ignoring you -
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. GONESE: I raised this at an appropriate time. Rules are rules even if we are a minority.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I said those of the same opinion will say ‘aye’ and you said ‘aye’ - [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
On the amendment, we did not object but on Clause 6, I stood up. It is not fair. These are the rules. I am entitled to challenge your ruling.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: But you are talking of Clause 6 - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Order, order, order Hon. Member.
HON. GONESE: Can I make a point of order?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, I will give you time.
With all fairness Hon. Gonese, we have done Clause 6 - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. GONESE: Can you allow me to speak Mr. Chairman
because I believe that as a Chairperson, you are sitting in that Chair as an impartial person. I was on Clause 6 and fortunately, the cameras are here and you can play them back. When we were on Clause 6, I stood up immediately. I am not objecting to the amendment…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Gonese, in all fairness,
you were calling for a division of the House. That is what you said and not that you wanted it to be debated. You said let us divide the House
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. GONESE: Can you please hear me? Let us go over the rules…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: No, no, no. You said let us divide the House.
HON. GONESE: Can you just allow me to speak?
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Can you say yes or no. Did you not say…
HON. GONESE: Mr. Chairman, I am not under cross examination. With due respect, let us go to the rules.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Then I will not give you the
With all due respect, let us go to the rules. The
rule says that if your office as the Chair makes a ruling, a person can challenge the ruling. That is in accordance with the Westminster type of democracy. You can look at all the books on that. When we challenge your ruling Mr. Chairman, you can then use one or two methods. One is to divide the House as we have said. You can also revert to the provision in the Standing Order if you wish but today you did not do that.
Because when I challenged, you said I think the ‘ayes’ have it. Then I said divide the House…
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Alright…
HON. GONESE: You are suppressing my rights.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: No, no, no. Look…
HON. GONESE: No, no. you are suppressing my rights.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: But you want to suppress my
HON. GONESE: Alright, I am listening Mr. Chairman.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Take your seat. Can you go
to Clause 2 of 125 where it says, “if however, the Chair is of the opinion that a division is unnecessarily claimed or is in abuse of the rules of the House, he or she must decline to direct that a division must take place…”, and that is exactly what happened. – [HON. MEMBERS:
Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. GONESE: That is done formerly. May I now respond to you? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Chairman, I think that we will not accept this – [HON. MATUKE: No, no, we cannot allow you to abuse the House.] – Hon. Member, I am still talking to the Chair – [HON. MATUKE: He has made a ruling] - - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – [HON. MATUKE: No, we will not allow you to waste our time.] - Mr. Chairman, let me make a suggestion…
THE DEPUTYCHAIRPERSON: I have already made a ruling – [HON. MATUKE: A ruling has already been made, so you cannot insubordinate the House. You have to abide by the rules.] –
No, no let me respond, if you refer me to a rule Mr. Chairman, I should respond to it. – [HON. MATUKE: We will not allow you to do that.] -
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: I have made my ruling, may
you resume your seat please Honourable.
HON. GONESE: I want to respond and I know the rules. Can you allow me – [HON. MATUKE: How can you insubordinate the House? You cannot do that, he has made a ruling.] I am not abusing the
House. It is you who is abusing the House because - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: You said let us divide the
House. We are not going to divide the House because it is not necessary.
- [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. GONESE: No, no, you cannot do this, you must also allow me to explain myself - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Mr. Chairman, when you are presiding, you are a neutral person - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. KHUPE: Hon. Chairman, there are two different views in this matter. So because there are two different views, you must divide the House - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – It is very necessary because this a very serious issue Mr. Chairman - [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – No, we will not accept it. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – We will not proceed if you do not want us to divide the House - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order please resume your seats. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – When the
Chair has made a ruling, it has to be adhered to. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – I made my ruling and am not going back on that. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Tough luck. -
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order. It is important that we recognise the sentiments of the opposite bench. The
sentiments of the opposite bench are necessary that you listen to them so that you are seen to be neutral. Your division of the House will not change anything but make sure that people express what they want. So it is important that is done. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order, order Hon. Member, I
put the question and you said ‘Aye’ and the ‘Ayes’ were more than the
‘Noes’, that is it. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: Mr. Chairman, yes it is your ears that heard the ‘Ayes’ - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: This is what I am saying that I have ears to hear as the Chairman. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
HON. ENG. MUDZURI: You must realise the opinion of the opposite side of the bench - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Yes, the Chairman’s ears and not your ears. Hon. Minister, Clause 8 amendment.
On Clause 8:
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE,
LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.
MNANGAGWA): I move the amendment standing in my name that on
page 7 of the Bill, line 13, after the words “Civil”, insert the words, “and criminal”.
Amendment to Clause 8 put and agreed to.
Clause 8, as amended, put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Third Reading: Thursday, 29th June, 2017.
HON. GONESE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. Thank you very much Madam Speaker, but my understanding is that the Hon.
Leader of the House moved that the Third Reading should come on Thursday. I believe that it is within our rights to debate that motion because any motion that is made in this august House is subject to debate. I believe that when he is making a proposal, it is a motion that the Third Reading must be on Thursday. In other words, there are three options.
The first option for that Third Reading is that it will be done now. When the Hon. Vice President can seek - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
interjections.] – Yes, that is the first option. The second option is that it can be done tomorrow. - [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – The other scenario is that it can be done tomorrow since it is a sitting day, so we can still debate the propriety of having the Third Reading deferred to either tomorrow or Thursday. It is within our rights to say tomorrow or Thursday. It is within our rights to express our own sentiments; our own views as to when that Third Reading can be done. I know he is in charge of the Bill but it is also our entitlement to respond because he has made a proposal. I want to make a response to that proposal, and I believe that he did not afford us that opportunity. You ask for either debate or objection.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Hon. Gonese,
according to our Standing Rules and Orders, Section 139 states “not more than one stage of a Bill must be taken at the same sitting without the leave of the House”. So, the Vice President and Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has asked that the Bill be done on Thursday, which is allowed by our Standing Rules and Orders.
HON. GONESE: I am allowed to respond, because we can
suggest tomorrow, which is a sitting day. It is within out rights because he has moved; whatever he says is a motion; a motion that we should have the Third Reading on Thursday. Those are motions without notice. If you say can we adjourn a debate, it is a motion. If a Bill is going for the Third Reading and you say ‘Thursday’, it is a motion to which you should ask for debate or objection. That is what the procedures provide for. You ask is there any objection, then we may or may not object, but you cannot pre-determine or pre-suppose what the House is going to say.
He has made a proposal that the Third Reading of the Bill should be on Thursday. We are entitled to respond and perhaps provide an alternative and say tomorrow, 28th June, which is a sitting day. That is my entitlement and my right to respond to say that well, he has made that proposal which amounts to a motion, then I or any other Member for that matter can respond and make a suggestion, a proposal or an objection.
Hon. Matuke having stood to move that the Third Reading of the Bill be done on Thursday.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Members, let me respond
to the point of order that was raised by Hon. Gonese. Hon. Gonese, the sponsor of the Bill decides when the next stage can be taken. I, as the Speaker right now, stand with the decision of the Vice President.
HON. GONESE: It is a decision of the House. I reject that contention Madam Speaker. You put it to the House. It is the House which decides, it is not your decision. You are misleading the House. Every time you adjourn a debate you ask – why do you then ask for other motions. Whenever there is a motion for the adjournment of the House, you say to when Hon. Minister and he says tomorrow and you ask is there any objection. Why do you ask? You ask because the decision of adjournment or when this motion ultimately rests with the august House. The mover of the motion simply postulates when he/she wants the debate to continue, then you put it to the House. Today, you did not. You simply say read the next Order, which is unprocedural.
The procedural way is when the Hon. Vice President has moved his motion that the Third Reading be held on Thursday, you then ask – that is why every time whenever such motion arise in this House you ask the question. Today for some strange reasons, you did not ask. That is the reason why I am on my feet to object to say you have departed from our usual procedure. Ask and if we are to be defeated that will be so, but we have to exercise our rights.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, can you give me
a chance to respond? I am hearing what you are saying, but in accordance with the rules and the procedures of Parliament – [AN HON.
MEMBER: Which ones.] – The same ones which Hon. Gonese was talking about. Section 139 of the Standing Orders and I did not ask for any objection at this stage because it does not arise.
HON. GONESE: We have been in this House - every time you have always asked that question. Why depart from it now? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – She must not suppress our rights, the Chairpersons. We should be entitled to respond, which she did not do. She should ask us, or else let us divide the House.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Gonese, I have given you
enough time and in accordance with the Standing Rules that I have right now, Section 139, I will not allow any further interruptions from you.
HON. GONESE: Place it on record Madam Chair that we have
said that you have not followed the proper procedure. We just want it placed on record that as far as we are concerned, the Chair; the Hon. Office of the Speaker has not proceeded in accordance with the rules of practice which we have been employing in this august House all the time. Whenever a motion has been moved - for any motion to be heard on any particular day, the question has always been put.
Today, the reasons best known to your office, you decided to depart from that practice. We want it recorded that we have objected and have said that you have proceeded out of line with the rules of practice and the rules of procedure which we use in this august House, which are in line with the practice of Commonwealth jurisdictions and Parliaments.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I think Hon. Gonese you are so
much misplaced on this one because the procedures that are here, that have always been there, only ask for the one who proposes the Bill to decide what day of the reading. It is only after the Minister has sought for the leave of the House that I ask for the objection. In this case, he had already said he was moving that the Bill be read on Thursday. So, there was no need for me to raise an order for objection. I am on the right track.
ESTATES ADMINISTRATORS AMENDMENT BILL [H.B. 8, 2016]
Second Order read: Committee Stage: Estates Administrators
Amendment Bill [H.B. 8, 2016].
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.
MNANGAGWA): I move that the debate on the Committee Stage be moved to Thursday.
Motion put and agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MATUKE: I move that Order of the Day, Number Three
be stood over until the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. SITHOLE: On a point of order. My point of order is on a different issue which is of national importance and I was requesting that maybe this august House takes note and acknowledges what has happened in the past. Since today is 27th June, maybe as Parliament we can propose that this day becomes a national holiday in commemoration of the atrocities and genocide in slow motion which happened in 2008 when we lost more than 200 members. Thank you – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. DZIVA): Sorry Hon.
Sithole. Hon. Sithole, order, order.
HON. MUNENGAMI: I concur, Hon. Speaker. Thank you.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: I did not hear you Hon.
Sithole. Can you repeat your point of order?
HON. SITHOLE: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of
order is on a different note. It is a matter of national importance, of the history of this nation which you should acknowledge as the august House. We are proposing that we have a national holiday in remembrance of the people who were killed towards the 27 June election, in that one man race which happened here in Zimbabwe. As you can hear, Madam Chair, those who are complaining are actually suspects to the things that happened – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
HON. MUNENGAMI: I support the motion, Hon. Speaker.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: There is no point of order.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that the House revert back to Order of the Day, Number 3. I realise that the Minister is present.
HON. MUKWANGWARIWA: I second.
NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION BILL
[H.B. 2, 2017]
Third Order read: Committee Stage: National Peace and
Reconciliation Commission Bill [H. B. 2, 2017].
House in Committee.
On the Preamble:
HON. GONESE: Mr. Chairman and the Hon. Minister, I have proposed an amendment to the preamble and the proposal is clearly set out on the Order Paper and I want to explain the rationale and the motivation for making that amendment.
The reason why I have made that proposal, Mr. Chairman, is that if you look at the current preamble it simply makes reference to the
Constitution and the proposal that I am making is seeking to improve the Bill by giving the background. I want to believe that this is an amendment which is being made in good faith; this is also an amendment which is being supported by various organisations who are engaged in matters relating to peace and reconciliation.
If you look at the suggestion that I have made, Hon. Minister, you will find that it is really giving the contextual background, the reasoning behind the provision in the Constitution which led us, as a nation, to have the proposal to have such a Commission put in place. If you look at the wording of the proposed amendment, it speaks for itself. I just want to highlight a few aspects from it.
What we are seeking to do, Mr. Chairman, is to say that as a nation, we are seeking to move away from the past and as a nation, we want to embrace the call to dialogue and truth. To seek a new path to a future which has got peace and respect for human rights, and a future which has got hope and love, which can have a new culture of justice and accountability. I believe that this proposal does not take away anything from the Bill; but instead, will improve it and I actually earnestly hope that the Hon. Minister will take this into consideration and will accede to that proposal to amendment the preamble.
With those submissions, Mr. Chairman, I hope that we can have a meeting of the minds. This is not a partisan proposal. It is a proposal which I think, if we reflect carefully upon it, you will find that there would be no reason for any objection because I believe that this will enhance and advance the interests which we want to protect by introducing the Bill. I therefore seek the support of all Hon. Members in this august House and in particular, the acquiescence of the Hon. Minister so that his amendment can be taken on board. That is my proposal.
I so move the amendment standing in my name that in line 10 on page 3 of the Bill, to delete the words “WHEREAS sections 251 to 253 of the Constitution provide as follows:” and to substitute:
“WHEREAS Zimbabwe must seek a departure from a past of violence and gross violation of human rights, and a transition from fear and hatred, and instead must embrace the call to dialogue and truth, seeking a new path to a future of peace and respect for human rights, a future of hope and love, a new culture of justice and accountability;
AND WHEREAS the Constitution provides that path to justice, dialogue and restoration, to truth-telling and the making of amends, to support and rehabilitation of victims, and offers new tools for the construction of a society of sustainable peace through the establishment of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission;
AND WHEREAS sections 251 to 253 of the Constitution provide as follows:”
HON. MAJOME: Thank Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to speak in support of the, I believe, very noble proposals that have been proposed by Hon. Gonese in the spirit of making laws for the order and good governance of Zimbabwe.
I tend to agree with him, Mr. Speaker Sir, because I want to believe that you will also agree that there is no benefit or value that is to be found in regurgitating provisions of the Constitution that are already there as it is the supreme law. Rather, there would be value in putting in substantive provisions that actually put matters of national peace and reconciliation in a better state. I can think of nothing better than to try and marry what is in the Constitution with what the Bill will propose to do, which is providing a link.
I also want to express that even before the present Clause 1 of the Bill, the Bill would propose to do something that it is not doing, that of putting into operation a commission that is already in operation in terms of the Constitution. So, we will be able to solve that problem by removing those provisions of the Constitution because we already have the Constitution and substituting them with these proposals by Hon.
Gonese. These provide a practical link between what is in the
Constitution and what it is that the Bill proposes to do. I thank you.
HON. CHINANZVAVANA: I stand in support of the
amendment proposed by Hon. Gonese in the spirit of embracing the so called dialogue and truth telling. We would like to think that the new substitution would ensure that there is acknowledgement or that the Constitution provides for truth telling and support for the rehabilitation of victims and would ensure a commitment to offer the new tools for the implementation of such and that the society would have sustainable peace. Failure to do that would seem like there is lack of will power on our part to acknowledge that there are violations against humanity that took place and that measures should be taken for the restoration of peace. We cannot pretend that it is not there, that there is an elephant in the middle of the room but we have to acknowledge it. Ignoring it would not take it away but its presence would rather be confronted and dealt with. With those submissions, I rest my case Hon. Chair.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: I also want to buttress what I consider to be a very useful amendment, particularly the one that is being proposed by Hon. Gonese. This amendment enriches the Bill and also gives the Bill a context. I support this amendment in the context of the preamble that is there. As you are aware, a preamble is supposed to give direction in terms of the spirit, the tenor, the tone and the composition of a particular piece of legislation. In this context, if you look at the one that is there, it does so but in part. So, the amendment that has been suggested would actually give a conclusive indication of what the Bill is all about, its context, the confessions that are supposed to be made, the admissions that are necessary and indeed the commission that we are so undertaking. So, it is very important from that perspective that we adopt the amendment that has been put forward by Hon. Gonese. More importantly, we also need to ensure that we put the purposive and teleological perspective of the Bill. In terms of drafting, that would also enrich our Bill in terms of the context, content and direction. It would also give sign posts to where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going as a people. This is an amendment that is not offensive to the spirit of the Bill, to the intentions of the policy makers and indeed as law makers, we feel that this is a very profitable amendment. I would want to move that we adopt this amendment Hon.
Chair. Thank you very much.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF NATIONAL
HEALING, PEACE AND RECONCILIATION (HON. MPHOKO):
Mr. Speaker Sir, I think to do service to the minds of other people, it is important that they express their feelings then we digest and next time we talk about it. We need to deal with these things effectively and I also want to apply my brains here. You have put your brains here, so let me digest then we come and talk about it.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Vice President, are we deferring this amendment? Is it only the preamble that has been suggested by Hon. Gonese?
HON. MPHOKO: The whole thing.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.
MNANGAGWA): Mr. Chairman Sir, I move that the debate do now adjourn and ask the Chair to report progress and seek leave to sit again.
Motion put and agreed to.
Committee to resume: Wednesday, 28th June, 2017.
HON. ADV. CHIMISA: On a point of order Madam Chair..
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: What is your point of order?
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: My point of order is on a matter of privilege but I would want to raise it in the presence of the Hon. Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, who is also the Leader of
Government Business Cde. E. D. Mnangagwa, in his presence also is the
Vice President, Hon. Mphoko. My point of privilege is from Standing Order No. 68 (d). You are aware that we were not supposed to sit this week. We only had to come because there was an important business,
Hon. Vice President, which business was for us to - I am sure, pass the Constitutional Amendment Bill. It would appear that we have come to sit and we are not very clear in terms of our numbers that are required to sufficiently meet the two thirds threshold, yet it has a massive effect on the tax payers’ money. This was not in terms of our sitting calendar, the sitting dates. This was not supposed to be a sitting of Parliament, we are supposed to be in our constituencies – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Order Hon. Members from my right. Can Hon. Chamisa be heard in silence – [HON. MATANGIRA:
Where did you get that information?] -
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: Thank you very much. Hon. Matangira
was requesting where I got the information, that is the difference between leadership and being a follower – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – So, we are in the leadership of Parliament, we are aware of the sitting dates and we define the business of Parliament and it is very important for him to appreciate that when we say information from a position of authority; we are not speculating and we must be able to listen before he starts questioning. The Vice President is aware of what I am talking about because at this level, we understand what we are talking about – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
Hon. Speaker, my request to the Vice President was just to say in future, this is an untenable and indefensible situation and it is our wish to optimise on the little and meagre resources we have. The country is under difficult circumstances; we do not want to bring the whole Parliament because there is an expense to it. We always want to make sure that we are precise in whatever we do. We save on the little and meagre resources we have. So, this is a plea in terms of our privileges that when we sit, let us sit with the understanding that we have done sufficient work to make sure that whatever we are doing is also speaking to the meagre and minute resources we have as a country. That is the point I wanted to make and I wanted the Hon. Vice President to also appreciate that point. I am sure he does appreciate that point because I know he is also concerned about the circumstance of resources. I know that there are some who are not in this House on account of various reasons. So, let it be placed on record that this is an undesirable situation. The desirable situation is for us to come and do the business of Parliament to the benefit of our citizens. I want to thank you very much – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (HON. E.
MNANGAGWA): Thank you very much Madam Chair. I realise that the Hon. Member, Vice President of the MDC – T and a Pastor - his concerns about time consuming debates – [HON. CHAMISA: Inaudible
THE DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON: Hon. Chamisa, let the Hon.
Vice President respond.
HON. E. MNANGAGWA: When the Hon. Member was making
his contribution on a point of privilege, I was not agreeing with him but because of dignity and discipline, I listened. I believe that at his level, he should do the same. I was saying that I allowed debate for everybody to exhaust themselves in spite of the repetitions, tedious repetitions which are happening. I was patient enough to take that in my stride. Today we came here to do two clauses which have been debated. I am happy that we have gone through those debates. Today, for some reason, the Hon. Members were able to deal with the two clauses of the Bill in reasonable time and I am thankful for that. So, on Thursday again, I hope they will do the same so that we will quickly go through the work on Thursday; that is the issue at hand. The question that he says we must not do it – there is a lot of work, there are a lot of motions and so on. In relation to debate relating to the constitutional amendment, the debate is over to those who are not aware. What is remaining is the voting. I thank you Madam Chair.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. MATUKE: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that
Orders of the Day, Nos 4 to 8, be stood over until Order of the Day, No.
9 and the rest of the Orders of the Day have been disposed of.
HON. RUNGANI: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
THIRD REPORT OF THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE ON
THE 2014 AND 2015 APPROPRIATION AND FUNDS ACCOUNTS
FOR THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL
HON. MPARIWA: I move the motion standing in my name that this House adopts the Third report of the Public Accounts Committee on the 2014 and 2015 Appropriation and Funds Account for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
HON. CROSS: I second.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Madam Speaker.
The Public Accounts Committee examined the Ministry of
Transport and Infrastructural Development on the findings of the
Auditor General on the Appropriation accounts for years ended December 31, 2014 and 2015 and the accounts of the four Funds administered by the Ministry, namely the Department of Roads Fund,
2013and 2014; New Limpopo Bridge Fund, 2014; New Vehicle Number
Plate Revolving Fund, 2013 and 2014 and the Traffic and Legislation Fund, 2012- 2014.
The Ministry is lagging behind in terms of reporting on Funds.
This is a violation of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) [Chapter 22:19]. Section 35 (4) of the PFMA requires the Ministry to prepare and submit financial statements for Funds within three months after the end of a financial year, which is a month after the deadline for submission of appropriation accounts. The Auditor General is expected to report on Funds by the same time she reports on Appropriation accounts which is June 30 of each year. It is of great concern that the Ministry reported on Funds well out of time and this has been the general trend for most Funds. This points to a culture of nonaccountability and a general lack of specific sanctions for failure to meet statutory deadlines on the submission of financial statements for audit. The Committee is also concerned that the then Accounting Officer for the Ministry, Mr Munodawafa did not take audit seriously as audit recommendations made in the 2014 Annual Audit Report were not implemented, hence are subject of discussion in this Report.
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 observed.
Section 309 (2) (a) of the Constitution provides for the functions of the Auditor General as follows:
“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 mandates the Public
Accounts Committee to examine the sums granted by Parliament to meet public expenditure and such other accounts laid before the National Assembly.
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 audited Appropriation and Funds Accounts for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development as reported by the Auditor General in her Annual Report for the financial years ended December 31, 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The Committee held two oral evidence sessions with Mr
Munodawafa, the then Permanent Secretary and Accounting Officer for Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, and other senior officials within the Ministry. The Committee requested written evidence which was then analysed and further formed the basis of the Report.
4.0 FINDINGS AND OBSERVATIONS BY THE
4.1 APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS FOR THE MINISTRY
OF TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2014
4.1.1 Unvouched and Misallocation of Expenditure, 2014
Section 81 (2) (b) (iii) of the PFMA requires all payments for public monies to be supported by sufficient vouchers of proof of payment. The Ministry, in violation of this provision, failed to avail for audit examination payment vouchers amounting to $608 478 for the Harare – Mutare road project. The Audit therefore could not verify the nature of expenditure incurred under the project.
Furthermore, Treasury Instruction 0950 requires all expenditure on voted funds to be classified under appropriate sub-heads and items as shown in the Estimates of Expenditure. During the period under review, Treasury released $400 378 for the Harare – Mutare project but funds were used to settle outstanding invoices for other projects which had no allocation under the 2014 Budget. These were Harare – Masvingo $199
785 – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.]-
Hon. Speaker, can I be heard in silence because I am talking here and I am mentioning names of some constituencies where Members of Parliament may have interest because they are really responsible for those communities. I think understanding and hearing what I am saying here, will give the benefit of a report back to their constituencies.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: May the Hon. Member be
heard in silence! You are protected.
HON. MPARIWA: Shamva – Bindura $58 965, Harare – Gweru
$54 473, Makuti reseal unit $45 027 and Manyame Bridge $41 790. These expenditures were then reported under Harare – Mutare project thereby overstating the expenditure on the project whilst understating expenditure on various other projects.
There is no doubt that such an environment is conducive for fraudulent activities since payments cannot be verified in the absence of supporting documentation and value of projects may be distorted through misstating of expenditures. Without following proper budgetary processes, State funds may be directed at unintended purposes resulting in missing national priorities.
The Permanent Secretary conceded to the audit observations. He indicated that supporting documentation for the unvouched expenditure could not be availed during the audit period as they were in the provinces. He blamed the manual recoding system obtaining in the provinces. The Ministry indicated that some vouchers were collected from the provinces and the amount had been reduced to $400 000. The Permanent Secretary made a commitment that he would avail the outstanding documentation during the entrance meetings of the 2016 audits. In relation to funds diverted from the Harare - Mutare road project, he pointed out that the transfer of funds to other projects was in response to litigations instigated by the contractors. He acknowledged the need to seek Treasury concurrence in future.
The Committee noted with concern the reluctance by the
Permanent Secretary to follow proper procedures by unilaterally moving funds from one project to another without securing Treasury approval.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that the Civil Service Commission, the appointing authority, should by 31stAugust, 2017, issue a stern warning against Mr Munodawafa, the then Permanent Secretary for the Ministry, for failing to seek Treasury approval for moving funds on projects approved by Parliament and disguising expenditure under different projects.
18.104.22.168 The Ministry should avail vouchers for the outstanding amount of $400 000 by 31stAugust, 2017.
4.1.2 Unreconciled figures for the Receipts and Disbursement
Return and the PFMS figure, 2014
The Receipts and Disbursement return showed an amount of $20 091 146 and the PFMS showed a figure of $21 284 987 resulting in a variance of $1 193 840. The Ministry did not carry out reconciliations to establish the source and composition of the variance. The then Permanent Secretary indicated that reconciliations were lagging behind resulting in the variance. He advised the Committee that the reconciliations for 2014 were completed and the figures were reconciled.
With such weak internal controls relating to revenue management, there is a risk of losing State revenue as some receipts could not be accounted for. The Committee noted with concern the lack of supervision by Management in the Ministry in respect of reconciliations that must be carried out on a monthly basis. Reconciliations submitted had no supporting documentation.
22.214.171.124 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should submit to Parliament the reconciliations with the supporting documentation by 1stAugust, 2017.
4.1.3 Understated Expenditure
The Audit observed that Treasury made direct payments to service providers amounting to $2 762 669 on behalf of the Ministry while the Appropriation Account submitted by the Ministry reflected an amount of $2 590 004 for direct payment resulting in a variance of $172 695.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the Ministry had investigated and found out that the direct payments made by Treasury as per Treasury records were correct and the payments were made to ZINWA. The matter has therefore been addressed to the
4.1.4 Suspected Fraud
An Internal Audit Report revealed that between January 2012 and May 2014, the Ministry suffered a loss of $181 950 through fraudulent activities perpetrated by an Accounts Clerk at the Victoria Falls station. The Accounts Clerk resigned when the fraud was uncovered to avoid prosecution. At the time of concluding the audit, no action had been taken by the Ministry whereas Treasury Instruction 0435 requires that a police report be made immediately after preliminary investigation into such kind of loss pointing to criminal action.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the fraud had not been detected until after the audit. The Ministry suspected that there was connivance between the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) official and a bank employee. It was a question of under-banking which was concealed by the two individuals involved which went on for some time. The Permanent Secretary also indicated that the official absconded from work after the matter was reported to the Police. He went further to state that the Ministry had instructed Pension Office to stop disbursement of terminal benefits accruing to the former employee as part of efforts to recover the defrauded funds. However, terminal benefits were far too little considering the amount in question.
To strengthen internal controls, the Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the Civil Service Commission had appointed two accountants to perform receipting duties and prevent such function from being performed by Vehicle Inspection Department inspectors as was the practice.
The Committee noted with concern that no proper care was being taken by the Ministry to safeguard public funds. Where under qualified personnel are entrusted with public funds, the Committee expects the Ministry to ensure constant supervision. The fact that the Ministry admitted that it took long for it to detect the fraud, points to lack of supervision in the Ministry. There is a danger that Government might be losing a lot of funds through such fraudulent activities.
126.96.36.199 The Committee recommends that since the terminal benefits are not adequate to cover the stolen funds, the Accounting Officer should by 31stJuly, 2017report the matter to the Police to ensure that the culprit is brought to book.
4.1.5 Absence of supporting documentation for direct payments to telephone and cellular phone service providers
The Auditor General observed that Treasury made direct payments amounting to $240 330 to telephone and cellular phone service providers. The Ministry did not make any effort to obtain confirmation of amounts owed and receipts of payments made from service providers as required by regulations. During oral evidence, the Ministry availed receipts from Telone and Netone but the amounts were more than the payments made.
188.8.131.52 The Committee recommends that, going forward, the Ministry should consistently check direct payments made by Treasury to service providers and ensure that they maintain up to date records on the management of public funds.
4.1.6 Weak controls in telephone usage by officers
The Audit observed that the Ministry’s telephones at the Head Office were open to Members of staff via the switchboard but there are no controls in place to monitor and limit time spend on calls. The Ministry incurred a bill amounting to $1 919 774 which has been outstanding since 2012. The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that they have since installed a PABX system which makes it possible to monitor and control usage. Since its installation, he indicated that usage has gone down and they are currently paying an average of $649 per month. The Committee commends the Ministry for taking corrective action.
4.1.7 Failure to submit Annual Departmental Asset Certificate
In violation of Treasury Instruction of 2004, the Ministry did not submit for audit examination an Annual Departmental Asset Certificate which shows whether all assets were properly accounted for. Some provinces submitted incomplete certificates and the Head Office register was not up to date. The Permanent Secretary indicated that most officials in his Ministry were not conversant with requirements for maintenance of assets registers. They have put in place teams that go around twice a year to all depots for purposes of updating assets registers. The Permanent Secretary advised the Committee that the Master Assets Register was now up to date. However, the Ministry up to the time of concluding this Report had not submitted the Annual
Departmental Asset Certificate.
184.108.40.206The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, submit the Annual Departmental Asset Certificate to the Auditor General.
4.1.8 Unpaid invoices for Department of Roads
The Audit observed that the Ministry had unpaid invoices amounting to $7 562 005 (2012: $8 331 008) for services rendered. There was no budget to clear the outstanding debts. As observed in previous audits, there was no system in place to monitor timely payment of creditors exposing Government to potential litigation by creditors. The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the issue of outstanding debts was a big challenge for the Ministry and that it has been consistently in discussion with Treasury to disburse funds to settle outstanding obligations. In 2016, the Ministry was given US$2 million to settle the outstanding obligations and for 2017, there is a budget allocation of US$2 536 000. Due to tight fiscal space, the Ministry indicated that the Treasury had in situations where the Ministry was facing litigation, requested ZINARA to meet the Ministry’s obligations.
The Committee noted with concern that the budget allocations for the Department of Roads are not taking into account the long outstanding debts going as far back as 2012. There is a risk that the Ministry would face litigation and Government would lose out more. It is also worrisome to the Committee that the Ministry continue to incur additional debts regardless of its indebtedness which is worsening the situation. There are therefore poor budgetary controls within the Ministry.
Though the Ministry indicated that payments were made on the first come first served principle, there were situations where those who were contracted late were being paid ahead of those who came in earlier. The Ministry said in such cases, there were threats of litigations. In the absence of a transparent system of paying creditors, this could be a source of corrupt practices.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31stAugust 2017, engage Treasury on the possibility of taking over the long outstanding debts by the Ministry. Going forward, the Ministry should operate within the approved budget.
18.104.22.168 The Ministry should by 30th September 2017 put in place a transparent system of paying its creditors.
4.2 Appropriation accounts for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development for the year ended December 31, 2015.
4.2.1 Undisclosed Ministry Expenditure met by Statutory
The Ministry did not disclose payments that were made on its behalf by Statutory Funds to directly settle its obligations for goods and services during 2015. Over the years, the Auditor-General noted that some expenditure for the Ministry’s Head Office were charged to New Number Plate Revolving Fund and Traffic and Legislation Fund without providing a detailed disclosure of assistance received.
The Permanent Secretary, in his response to the audit observation, argued that his Ministry indeed disclosed but probably not in the format acceptable to the auditors. He also defended the intermingling of funds from the Appropriation account and Statutory Funds on the premise that they were both administered by the same officials. The Permanent Secretary admitted that he was knowingly violating the Constitutions of the Funds in question under the pretext that he had started discussion with Treasury on the possibility of amending the constitutions to allow access by other senior officials in the Ministry. He went on to blame the auditors for reporting 2013 issues in 2016 which is well out of time.
The Committee noted with concern the total disregard of regulations and procedures by the Permanent Secretary and apparent lack of remorse for his conduct. The Committee’s understanding was that Fund Constitutions provide direction on the management of funds and they have a force of law. It is also the Committee’s understanding that monies under these funds should be accounted for separately from appropriated funds. Furthermore, it is the Committee’s understanding that the Auditor General at the beginning of each year gives to Accounting Officers the format in which specific returns for both appropriations and Funds should be prepared. The PFMA compels accounting officers to submit accounts for appropriation and funds accounts for prior year within 60 days and 90 days respectively in the beginning of a financial year. This effectively means reporting for both is more or less at the same time and surely reporting on 2013 issues in 2015 should not be blamed on the auditors but the Accounting Officer who delayed in submitting financial statements. Detailed disclosure of all the sources of expenditure is more-so in line with best practice.
It is of great concern that the then Permanent Secretary, with impunity, was violating regulations and went on to apportion blame on auditors for raising issues on accounts that he submitted well out of time. The Permanent Secretary has a duty to manage public funds within the ambit of the governing regulatory frameworks and be held accountable in the manner he has managed such public funds.
22.214.171.124 The Committee recommends that the Permanent Secretary should with immediate effect observe the Constitution of the Funds under his Ministry and ensure that expenditure from such Funds are as per the dictates of those Constitutions.
126.96.36.199 The Civil Service Commission, should by 30th September, reprimand the Accounting Officer for wilful violations of Funds Constitutions.
4.2 Public Financial Asset not prepared according to the recommended format
In violation of the PFMA, the Audit observed that the return for Public Financial Assets was not prepared according to the recommended format as it excluded columns such as balances as at January 1, 2015, expenditure for the year, adjustments and closing balances as at December, 31, 2015. Attempts by auditors to get confirmations form parastatals and other public entities under the Ministry did not help the situation as only three out of eight entities responded. As a result, the auditors could not establish whether the balance of $97 078 183 disclosed in the return represented the correct net amounts of loans and investments outstanding as at December 31, 2015. It is of concern to the Committee that failure to disclose all transactions for loans and investments does not promote transparency and accountability which is a requirement under the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
As portrayed by the Ministry in its earlier responses, they professed ignorance of a recommended format which the Auditor General indicated was issued to all Accounting Officers by her Office in the beginning of every year. The Ministry however indicated that it had since complied and submitted a return in the recommended format. A return for public financial assets in conformity with the recommended format was subsequently submitted as evidence and the matter has therefore been addressed to the Committee’s satisfaction.
4.2.3 Rolling out PFMS to Revenue Collection Stations
The Audit reported that out of 27 revenue collecting stations, 15 were not connected to SAP while users at five stations which had SAP running had no profiles and needed training. At six stations, SAP was down and the receipting was done manually – meaning that most of the transactions from outstations were processed at the Ministry’s Head Office. It was also observed that delays in submitting sub-collectors schedules by stations, posting of revenue information was lagging behind and there were variances between receipts in the PFMS and cash reflected in the bank account throughout the year. There is a risk of exposing public funds to fraud in such a highly manual environment.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the SAP project was driven by Treasury and as a result, the Ministry had no control in terms of getting all the revenue collection stations connected. He indicated that two stations, one at Eastlea and the other one at
Belvedere were connected. For stations still on the manual system, the Civil Service Commission had approved that the Ministry engage staff with accounting skills to ensure that procedures are adhered to.
The Committee was aware that there were plans by Treasury to roll out SAP to districts and it is the Committee’s expectation that this process is speeded up to enhance accountability in revenue collection.
4.3 Roads fund accounts for the years ended December 31,
2013 and 2014
4.3.1 Variances between disbursements made to the Fund by
ZINARA and amount reflected in financial statement in 2013 and
The Audit observed that ZINARA made disbursements amounting to $11 800 882 for maintenance of roads in 2013 and the fund financial statements reflected $10 363 302 as the amount received from ZINARA resulting in a variance of $1 437 580. The Audit later confirmed that of this variance, $936 870 was in respect of direct payments made to contractors by ZINARA, leaving a balance of $500 710 unaccounted for. It was also noted that the Fund did not conduct monthly income reconciliations during 2013.
In 2014, the fund financial statements on the same reflected disbursements of $11 610 945 while the ZINARA schedule showed a figure of $9 409 285 giving a variance of $2 201 660. No reconciliation was done to establish the source and nature of the variance.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that variances in 2013 were due to direct payments made by ZINARA to service providers without the knowledge of the Ministry. The department then prepared its accounts based on disbursements amounting to $10 363 302 as reflected in its bank account. After the audit, an investigation was carried out and established that the variance of $1 437 580 was relating to direct payments. The Ministry advised the Committee that it had now reconciled the figures. However, the Committee noted that the schedule for direct payments that was submitted by the Ministry as evidence was not supported by vouchers or invoices being paid rendering the evidence incredible.
As for the $2 201 660 observed in 2014, the Ministry indicated that it was still carrying out reconciliations to establish the source.
The Committee noted with concern the challenge in the Ministry of maintaining up to date records. Reconciliations should be carried out on a monthly basis and any variances observed should be investigated at the material time. There is really a serious performance challenge and lack
of supervision in the Ministry. The Permanent Secretary indeed admitted before the Committee that there was a casual approach by his officers in dealing with these matters.
188.8.131.52 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31stAugust, 2017, submit invoices and vouchers supporting the $1 437 580 direct payments made by ZINARA in 2013.
184.108.40.206 The Ministry should as a matter of urgency finalise reconciliations for the 2014 ZINARA disbursements and submit credible evidence explaining the variations of $2 201 660 by 31st August 2017.
4.3.2 Irregular payment of bonuses to casual workers
In 2013, the Audit observed that for four years in succession, the Fund paid bonuses to casual workers violating Section C, part 3 of the contract signed between the Fund and the workers which stipulated that no bonuses should be paid. In addition, there was no authority from the Civil Service Commission to support payment of bonuses amounting to $97 630. This was a clear improper charge against public funds which may result in budget overrun.
The Permanent Secretary conceded that it was wrong for the Fund to pay bonuses to casual workers. He added that the Director in charge of the Fund thought that the Fund was autonomous and he could run it as he wishes. The Ministry stopped payment of bonuses after the matter was raised with auditors.
The Committee was perplexed to note that there was a circular from the CSC which clearly stipulates that casual workers were not entitled to bonus and the Director in charge of the Fund went on to pay such bonuses in disregard of the Circular. The Ministry took no action against the Director, yet this reflected on the performance of the Director.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that the CSC should by 31stAugust 2017, issue a cautionary letter against the Director of the Fund for failing to observe policies and procedures in dealing with public funds.
4.3.3 Procurement of a binder material worth $320 000 without following Tender procedures in 2014
Statutory Instrument 161 of 2008 – Procurement (amended) Regulation Number 16 stipulates that purchases of at least $300 000 should be done through a formal tender. During 2014, the Audit observed that the Fund purchased a binder material called eco-roads soil stabilizer meant to strengthen dust roads at a cost of $320 000 from a private company without flouting formal tender.
The Permanent Secretary indicated that since the material was purchased for research purposes, the Department of Roads did not think that it was necessary to proceed by way of a formal tender. However, the Committee noted with concern that the Statutory Instruments had no such exclusions for procurement for purposes of research. The Permanent Secretary conceded that the action was wrong and he indeed apologised for a clear disregard of laid down policies and procedures.
4.4. NEW LIMPOPO BRIDGE FUND, 2014
The Fund was established to finance the maintenance of the old and the new Limpopo bridges and the roads linking the South African and the Zimbabwean border. ZINARA was appointed as a tolling agent of the Fund which collects around $1.6 million toll fees every month. The Fund received a qualified opinion in 2014 and the issues are highlighted below.
4.4.1 Fund Revenue understated by ZAR21 577 326
The Audit observed that the financial statement had an omission of
ZAR21 577 326 which was collected between November and December 2014. The Audit was therefore not satisfied that the $3 241 168 disclosed in the financial statement represented all the revenue that was collected by ZINARA on behalf of the Fund. In coming up with the revenue figure, the Fund relied on the bank statements and deposit slips supplied by ZINARA and did not keep copies of receipts and maintain monthly summaries of revenue collected. This could enable the Fund to carry out independent reconciliations against bank statements. Failure to account for all revenue collected may result in material misstatement of financial statements. Furthermore, revenue may be misappropriated if receipts and monthly returns are not submitted by ZINARA for verification.
The Permanent Secretary indicated that motorists travelling across the Limpopo bridge have the liberty to pay either in United State dollars or in Rands and yet they maintain a United States Dollar bank account. The bank was supposed to convert the Rands to United States Dollars which did not take place. He advised the Committee that there is now compliance in that regard.
In response to the absence of copies of receipts and monthly summary of revenue collected, the Permanent Secretary indicated that the computer system they inherited from the private player who was previously engaged on a BOT arrangement did not produce additional copies of the receipts. However, the Ministry had since instructed ZINARA to change the system to ensure that it generates additional copies of receipts in order to comply with audit requirements. The Audit also noted that monthly reconciliations between duplicate copies of receipts, bank deposit slips and bank statements were not being carried out to which the Permanent Secretary indicated that they were now being carried out.
18.104.22.168 Going forward, the Committee recommends that the Fund should keep copies of receipts and monthly summary of revenue collected and carry out monthly reconciliations to enable them to detect errors and omissions at the material time.
22.214.171.124 The Ministry should submit monthly bank reconciliations by 31st August 2017 as evidence that monthly reconciliations were now being carried out.
4.4.2 Absence of a Contract appointing ZINARA as a collection agent
The Audit observed that there was no contract entered into, between ZINARA and the New Limpopo Bridge Fund stating the terms and conditions under which ZINARA was appointed as a collection agent, save for a Minute written by the Accounting Officer advising
ZINARA to retain 20% of the toll fees collected. It also observed that
the Statutory Instrument 147 of 2013 which authorised ZINARA to collect toll fees on behalf of the Fund was silent on the retention of 20% of toll fees by ZINARA.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the decision for ZINARA to become the collection agent was hurriedly taken and was unanticipated. He indicated that a contract was now in place. Regarding the 20% retention fee, he indicated that it was in fact 15% and the two governments had agreed on the percentage.
4.4.3 Absence of supporting documents for payments amounting to $1 000 000.00 for road works and salaries for contract workers amounting to $32 948
Treasury Instruction 1216 requires that a payment voucher should be supported by adequate documentation. The Audit observed that no expenditure returns were submitted to support payments amounting to $1 000 000.00 allegedly spent on road works and salaries for contract workers amounting to $32 948 were also not supported by pay sheets.
The Permanent Secretary indicated that the supporting documents in both instances were in the provinces and what was needed was to get the copies from provinces and avail them to auditors. He pointed out that supporting documents for the $1 million were indeed availed to the auditors before the finalisation of the audit. Pay sheets supporting the salaries for casual workers together with the alleged missing vouchers were submitted to the Committee and the matter has been addressed to the Committee’s satisfaction.
4.4.4 Absence of supporting documentation for the source of
Accumulated Fund figure of $722 562
The Audit could not validate the source of the Accumulated figure of $722 562 reflected in the Income and Expenditure as it was extracted from a bank statement and was not supported by source documents. The Audit therefore, could not place reliance on the Accumulated Fund balance of $2 654 009 reflected in the balance sheet.
The Permanent Secretary pointed out that $722 562 relates to the first one and a half months of operation after they took over from the private player and at that stage, they had no guidelines as to how they were supposed to operate and then they operated in the manner that was not in compliance with the expectations of the auditors.
The Committee was concerned that the Ministry has been extracting figures from the bank statements or receipts instead of using ledgers to prepare financial statements. This is contrary to good accounting practice and reflects weak accounting control and poor record keeping.
126.96.36.199 Going forward, the Committee recommends that the Ministry should maintain proper accounting records and ensure that accurate and complete information is kept.
4.5 New vehicle security registration number plate revolving fund 2013 and 2014
The Fund was established to import blank registration plates of the specifications stipulated in the vehicle registration and licensing regulations and incidental materials, for production of vehicle registration number plates and sell to vehicle owners. The Fund in both years received adverse opinions which are an indication that there were material misstatements which render financial statements unreliable. This state of affairs is of great concern to the Committee as those entrusted with public funds should exercise due diligence and care and instil public confidence. Below are the issues which gave rise to adverse opinion.
4.5.1 Failure to maintain ledger accounts for sale of Number plates, 2013
The Audit observed that the Fund did not maintain individual ledger accounts for sales realised by 32 agencies while some agencies did not submit monthly sales returns or receipts together with bank deposit slips to facilitate reconciliation of the sales figure. There were indications from monthly sales returns received from agencies that some number plates were cancelled. However, a schedule of the returns inwards for cancelled number plates was not availed for audit verification. As a result, the sales figure of $16 275 058 disclosed in the financial statements could not be validated. The situation did not improve in 2014 where the sales figure was $17 473 239.
Failure to carry out monthly reconciliations can result in errors going through the system undetected and such an environment is also conducive for fraudulent transactions.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the 2013 and 2014 figures had since been reconciled and were included in the recasted financial statements which were submitted to the Auditor
General’s office. To curb future recurrences, the Ministry now make use of its internal audit to carry out periodic audits which cover receipting and banking against sales just to ensure that if there are any discrepancies, they will be immediately attended to. The Ministry also has made it mandatory for all agents to submit sales returns together with the duplicates receipts and the deposits slips on a monthly basis and in the event an agent failed to comply with the directive, officials are dispatched to go and collect the documents. The Committee was satisfied with the measures taken to address the observation.
4.5.2 Absence of detailed stock takes procedures, 2013
The Audit observed that the Fund did not have detailed stock take procedures to provide guidance to officers. The Fund had a checklist that was not comprehensive enough to highlight condition, quantity and value of inventory on hand. No consolidated report was produced on the outcome of the stock take exercise conducted at year end. As a result, auditors could not confirm whether, the inventory disclosed in the financial statement with a value of $3 273 246 was accurate.In the absence of comprehensive stock take procedures, there is a risk that values of closing inventory may be manipulated.
The Permanent Secretary conceded that the system that was initially in place did not meet the Audit expectations. The Ministry had changed the system, the new system involved both internal and external auditors in the stock. The Committee was satisfied with the measures that were taken in addressing the observation. The Committee also questioned the basis of the price of number plates, considering that the Ministry had relied on one sole supplier over a period of more than 19 years. The Fund was also in a position to lend surplus funds to other entities and the Committee was wondering whether it was now a profit making venture or whether the percentage being retained should be reviewed. The Permanent Secretary indicated that the Ministry was seized with the matter within the context of ease of doing business. He confirmed that there was scope for reducing the price of number plates.
4.5.3 Suspense Account, 2013
There was a balance of $3 560 631 (2014:$3 560 631) disclosed in the financial statements and it had been outstanding since 2011. No evidence was shown to the auditors that the Fund had taken measures to either investigate or clear the suspense account. Existence of a suspense account implies that the financial statements are not reliable.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the balance relates to stocks that were procured prior to the introduction of the multicurrency regime and there was no guidance from Treasury regarding the conversion rate. Thus the balance in the suspense account therefore relate to the value that was placed on closing stock for raw materials and finished products. He however indicated that his Ministry got some guidance and recommendations from the Auditor General on how to recast the figure. There was therefore scope to recast the figures going back to 2009, based on the value which has been placed on those number plates.
188.8.131.52 The Committee recommends that the Fund should clear the suspense account by 30thSeptember 2017 based on the formula given by the Auditor General.
4.5.4 Long Term Advances to Air Zimbabwe, 2013
Audit observed that for the second year running, the Fund made some payments to Air Zimbabwe service providers without obtaining prior Treasury authority. Payments were then treated as long term loans, although no interest is being charged, contrary to the provisions of the
Fund’s Constitution. The accumulated payments as at December 31, 2013 amounted to $22 909 504 (2012:19 875 976). The loan agreements had not been signed by Air Zimbabwe and no repayments had been received. During 2014 the Fund further advanced to Air Zimbabwe $7 578 660 as a loan to repay its operation expenses. The Audit further noted that there were no explanatory notes submitted with accounts on the long outstanding loans to Air Zimbabwe, which is required by best practice.
There is a risk that the Fund may fail to achieve its objectives if its revenue is diverted to other entities which is in violation of the Constitution of the Fund. The Committee further queried whether retention funds are justified if the Fund had such excess funds to loan out to other entities. In the absence of explanatory notes on items, the integrity of the financial statements may be compromised.
The Permanent Secretary admitted that the Ministry erred in diverting Fund monies to Air Zimbabwe without Treasury approval and offered an apology for its action. He confirmed that loan documents for all the amounts observed were in place. The Committee questioned the possibility of Air Zimbabwe paying back the loans, considering its current dire state.
184.108.40.206The Committee recommends that the Ministry approach the Treasury and work out the modalities for takeover of the debt for Air Zimbabwe by Treasury by 30 September, 2017. Going forward the Ministry should desist from diverting Fund revenue without Treasury approval.
220.127.116.11 The Treasury should assess and advise by 31st
December, 2017 whether there is need for the Ministry to still retain the current percentage of the Fund revenue in view of the amounts, hovering around $23 million that have been extended to Air Zimbabwe though over a period of time.
4.5.5 Payment vouchers amounting to $555 572 not supported by invoices, 2013
The Audit observed that the Fund paid a total amount of US$555 572, that had no supporting invoices. The figure relates to cash withdrawals amounting to $88 593 that were made without the Chief
Accountant’s approval and supporting payment vouchers; payment of wages and salaries totalling $174 517again without supporting documents and a further payment of $292 462 made on behalf of the Ministry Head Office still without supporting documents. Thus the auditors could not ascertain whether the payments were a proper charge against the Fund.
The Permanent Secretary defended the payment made on behalf of the Ministry on the basis that the Fund had no dedicated staff to run the Ministry and for him there was nothing wrong in utilising the Fund for administrative purposes. On the basis of the arguments advanced by the Ministry, the Fund was being used to augment resources appropriated to the Ministry, which is not the intention in terms of its Constitution. Regarding the missing vouchers, the Permanent Secretary indicated that they were available.
18.104.22.168 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should submit to Parliament all the supporting documentation relating to the $555 572 by 31st August 2017.
22.214.171.124 Treasury must review and advise by 31st December,
2017 on the need for the Ministry to continue to retain funds under the Fund, considering that it is now being used to fund expenditure ordinarily funded by appropriated funds.
4.5.6 Acquisition of Assets outside the approved budget, 2013
The Audit observed that the Fund purchased assets worth $302 960 which were not budgeted for. The assets were shredders, printers, scales and filing cabinets. However, seven scales valued at $9 429, have been lying idle ever since they were purchased. This resulted in wasteful expenditure.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the Ministry realised the need for filing cabinets for safe keeping of used receipt books by CVR during the course of the year.In relation to scales that were lying idle, he indicated that use of the scales was postponed pending a tender process for disposal of old number plates.
The Committee was concerned that the Ministry’s budget formulation was poor, considering they should have anticipated the need for the equipment during the budget formulation. There is also poor planning because the equipment was just purchased without clear objectives and direction as to what they really wanted to achieve. On one hand they purchased equipment with a view to dispose of old number plates by way of shredding. Later on they realised that there was some aluminium in the old number plates and they realised the opportunity to dispose them through sale. The Ministry really needed to be reminded that they are dealing with public funds and there is need to ensure there is efficiency, economy and effectiveness in the use of public resources.
126.96.36.199 The Committee recommends that the Civil Service Commission should revisit the employment contract of the officials in the Ministry running the Fund and advice on their continued suitability by 31st December, 2017 in view of the glaring poor performance.
188.8.131.52 Treasury should by December, 2017, review the framework of the Fund, in view of the observations noted.
4.5.7 Purchased Vehicles under the Fund converted to personal issue vehicles to directors, 2013
The Audit observed that the Fund sought and was granted authority to purchase three vehicles valued at $128 179. However, the vehicles were later issued as personal vehicles to the Directors at the Ministry’s Head Office and $33 894 was spent on putting on extras, such as radios, sport lights and bull bars. Subsequently, the Ministry sought authority from Public Service Commission to convert the vehicles to personal issue vehicles and such authority had not been granted at the time of the audit.
The Permanent Secretary indicated that the vehicles were meant to be pool vehicles for CVR. However, there were three directors that had no personal issue vehicles, hence they were issued to directors. He claimed that the Ministry got Treasury and PSC approval to allocate the vehicles to the Directors. The Committee noted with concern that there is a clear violation of the Constitution of the Fund and there seems to be no consequences for such violations. The Accounting Officer actually defended use of the Fund to meet expenditure ordinarily funded through appropriated funds. In fact the Fund has proved to be an additional budgetary source for the Ministry.
184.108.40.206 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, submit to Parliament approvals from
Treasury and the CSC for its decision in issuing Fund vehicles to Directors in the Ministry.
220.127.116.11 Treasury should, by 30th September 2017, submit to
Parliament a justification for continued retention of funds by the Ministry under this Fund, in view of these violations and other uses which the Funds are being put to.
4.5.8 Inadmissible Accounting Records, 2014
The Audit observed that the Fund used excel spreadsheet to maintain its records instead of a reliable accounting package. There was no consistency in the recording of manual and excel ledgers, resulting in eight manual ledger records reflecting a total of $2 457 581, which was not posted to excel ledger accounts, while sixteen excel ledger accounts had expenditure amounting to $2 092 206, which was not posted to the manual ledger. The fourteen ledger accounts which were maintained in both manual and excel ledger accounts, separately, had variances amounting to $1 930 756. There is a risk that inconsistencies in recording financial transactions may result in materially misstated financial statements and failure to reconcile manual and excel records could result in failure to detect errors and fraud.
The Permanent Secretary indicated that they have adopted a pastel accounting version 14. He also indicated that the figures were reconciled.
The Committee was concerned with the extent of poor record keeping that was prevalent in the Ministry and the inaction by the Accounting Officer as these issues are reported year after year.
4.5.9 Trade Receivables that could not be ascertained
The Audit could not ascertain the existence, accuracy and completeness of trade receivables amounting to $1 201 012 as the Fund did not maintain detailed individual debtor records. There were no debtor reconciliations carried on throughout the year. One agent of the fund understated sales for the month July, 2014 by $46 493 thereby under remitting revenue by the same amount.
The Ministry indicated that individual debtor records were now being maintained and reconciliations were being carried out. The
Committee was however, concerned about the weak controls in the Ministry which can possibly lead to fraud if no action is taken to address the issues.
18.104.22.168 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, submit to Parliament evidence of reconciliations and individual debtor records being maintained.
4.5.10 Absence of a Management Committee to administer the
The New Number Plate Revolving Fund Constitution Section 3 (a) states that the Fund shall be administered by a Management Committee appointed by The Accounting Officer who shall be responsible for the day-to-day running of the Fund. The Fund has been operating without a
Management Committee since its inception. In the absence of the Committee, decisions taken by Management may not be independent as has been demonstrated in this Report.
In his response to the observation, the Permanent Secretary regretted that the requirement of setting up a Management Committee was not fulfilled. He has made an attempt to set up one such Committee but he indicated that the Committee was not operational as the Chairman was pursing part time studies.
The Committee noted with concern that there was a deliberate effort by the Permanent Secretary to downplay the need of a vibrant Management Committee to administer the Fund. The challenges besetting the Fund are just numerous to guarantee and instil public confidence that there is proper safeguard and management of public resources under this Fund. The Fund is rather a cash cow for the
Ministry which is not the intent and purpose for which it was set.
22.214.171.124 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 30th September 2017, put in place a viable Management Committee to administer the Fund and demonstrate ample evidence that the Committee is now in charge of the affairs of the Fund.
4.6 TRAFFIC AND LEGISLATION FUND 2012- 2014
The accounts for the Fund for 2012 to 2014 received an adverse opinion which is a clear indication that this is another Fund under the
Ministry that is badly administered. Below are issues raised in the audit?
4.6.1 Computerised Accounting System partially utilised
The Audit observed that the Fund purchased computerised accounting software called pastel in 2011 to ensure that reliable financial statements were produced and that the organisation’s information was protected. However, the Fund did not have an approved Information Technology security policy. The Chief Accountant acted as the system administrator, thus exposing the financial information to manipulation, as there was no segregation of duties. While the computerised accounting system was introduced in 2011, it was not being fully utilised as most of the financial information was not uploaded on the system.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the Ministry until recently had no IT skills at the appropriate levels. Their target is to have an IT policy by end of 2017. Regarding the full functionality of the system, he informed the Committee that they are currently in discussion with the service provider to enable it to deal with depreciation and revenue processes which were said to be the outstanding functions. He pointed out that the Chief Accountant was the supervisor as opposed to the Administrator of the software. He went further to state that they did not feel that there was any compromise by having the accountant there.
The Committee noted with concern that the Permanent Secretary has not been consistent in his responses. To the auditors he indicated that the IT officers did not have the capacity to administer the software and as a result, the Chief Accountant was acting as the Administrator. During oral evidence session, he then denied that the Chief Accountant was an Administrator. He blamed his junior staff for the responses given to the auditors. The Committee was very much concerned with the conduct of the Accounting Officer in dealing with audit matters. He displayed total disregard of the audit processes and as a result, the Committee could not place reliance on the evidence he gave.
126.96.36.199 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, submit to Parliament reliable evidence regarding the level of utilisation of the computerised accounting system and such evidence to include the officers administering the system.
188.8.131.52 The Committee recommended that the Civil Service Commission should assess the conduct of the Permanent Secretary in relation to audits and take appropriate action by 31st December 2017.
4.6.2 Suspense Account
Audit observed that the Fund’s balance sheet had a suspense figure of $2 548 991 and auditors could not verify the source of this figure as supporting ledger accounts were not being maintained. It was established that in 2009 the accumulated figure included an amount of $2 499 758, whose origin could not be established. The suspense figure has been carried on over the years without being investigated. Continued failure by the Fund to investigate the source of the balance affects the integrity of the financial statements and errors may occur undetected.
The Ministry attributed the figure to the period prior to the dollarization and indicated that they have sought guidance from the Auditor General in addressing the observation. However, the Ministry had simply removed the figure from the financial statement without supporting documentation showing how it has been removed from the financial statements.
184.108.40.206 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should fully investigate the suspense account and clear the balance by 30th September, 2017.
4.6.3 Payment for Construction works without supporting documentation
The Audit could not establish whether payment for construction works amounting to $182 301 which included $43 146 incurred in 2013 were a proper charge to public funds. The payments were for hiring of equipment. There were no payment vouchers compiled, neither were there invoices, competitive quotations and certificates of completion availed to auditors.
Auditors also reported that they failed to establish whether expenditure valued at $929 851 disclosed in the 2012 financial statements represented a fair value of projects, that were completed or under construction, in the absence of work progress certificates. The projects undertaken at various Vehicle Inspection Depots included construction of some hill starts and office blocks.
The Ministry indicated that they have now centralised all payments done under the Fund. The Accounting Officer approves all payments to eliminate loopholes. He pointed out that construction of hill starts was under the purview of the Provincial Road Engineer and there were no certificates produced for the work. Going forward, all construction work has to be certified by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
The Committee was concerned about payments being made without supporting documents as the issue has been reported in all the four Fund Accounts.
4.6.4 Absence of supporting documentation for revenue received
The Audit could not place reliance on the revenue figure of $5 346 014 (2013: $5 158 177) disclosed in the financial statements, as the cash book was updated using entries from the bank statements, instead of using amounts from actual receipts together with related sub-collectors schedules from all depots. As a result, there were un reconciled differences of $233 858 (2012: $251 085) between, figures shown in the financial statements and those in the ledger accounts.
The Ministry indicated that receipts are now being received on a weekly basis from the various collecting centres and reconciliations are carried out at the end of every week. It was also indicated that the difference of $233 858 had since been cleared. The Committee expressed concern that the Accounting Officer waits for audits to point out issues and the review does not seem to have a mechanism to review its systems.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, avail supporting evidence to Parliament of weekly reconciliation being carried out and the differences cleared.
4.6.5 Unrecovered Travel and Subsistence Advances
The Audit noted that Travelling and Substance Advances issued to staff members were not being acquitted within the stipulated period of 30 days as required by Treasury Instruction 1505. This resulted in an increase in 2014 of outstanding advances by 94% to $352 081from $181 357 in 2013. The Fund did not put in place mechanisms to recover outstanding advances.
The Permanent Secretary admitted that his officials were not doing their work as expected, resulting in one of the officials being discharged from the service for this and other misdemeanours. He advised the
Committee that the figure has gone down to $93 960.
18.104.22.168 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 30th September 2017, submit to Parliament evidence of recoveries made and a schedule showing officers who are yet to acquit and action being taken to recover the amounts.
4.6.6 Procurement of fuel on behalf of the Ministry
Audit observed that the Fund purchased fuel coupons with a value of $707 921 in 2014 and $953 757 in 2013. The fuel coupons were issued to VID depots and to the parent Ministry. It was observed that part of the fuel expenditure amounting to $227 840 was paid without compiling payment vouchers. It was also observed that the Fund and Ministry accounting systems are not integrated, posing a risk of fraud if adequate records are not maintained.
The Permanent Secretary again defended the use of Fund resources to meet expenditure funded by appropriated funds on the basis that the Fund had no independent stuff but was administered by officials at the
Ministry’s Head Office. Though the Head Office officials administer the Fund, it is the considered view of the Committee that there should be a clear demarcation of expenditures and ensures that Fund revenue is utilised for the purpose for which the Fund was established.
22.214.171.124 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 30th September, 2017, set up a Management Committee responsible for the day to day running of the Fund.
126.96.36.199 Treasury should, by 30th September, 2017, review and advice on the continued retention of funds by the Ministry, in view of the violations observed.
4.6.7 Advances to Treasury
It has been reported that in 2009 the Fund advanced $888 678 to Treasury for the purchase of vehicle spare parts. Since that time the amount has been appearing in the Fund’s balance sheet as an advance. There was no evidence of follow up to ensure that the advance was recovered.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the
Ministry made some follow ups with Treasury and the response was that Treasury was looking at advances from these funds in a holistic manner.
Again, the Committee was dismayed to note that the Permanent Secretary gave a response that was at variance with the one he previous gave to auditors. He had said to the auditors that the amount was wrongly classified as an advance to Treasury when in fact it should have been treated as an expense. He indicated that the error had since been corrected. Under such circumstances, the Committee is left wondering as to what exactly is the correct position regarding the matter.
188.8.131.52 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, submit to Parliament documentary evidence regarding the correct stance in relation to the advance.
4.6.8 Absence of Assets Register for the Fund
Accounting Officer’s Instruction clearly states the need for assets under the Fund to be recorded in an asset register clearly marked with the name of Fund. The Audit observed that the Fund was not maintaining a separate register from its parent Ministry. As a result, the assets belonging to the Traffic and Legislation Fund could not be identified and verified form those of the Ministry.
The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that there were administrative lapses and the Ministry now maintains a separate asset register for the Fund.
184.108.40.206 The Committee recommends that the Ministry should, by 31st August 2017, submit to Parliament an asset register for the Fund.
4.6.9 Failure to maintain ledger accounts for depreciation
Audit observed that the Fund did not maintain ledger accounts for depreciation. As a result, the rates applied in the calculation of depreciation were different from those provided in the accounting officer’s instructions resulting in a net understatement of depreciation in the 2013 financial statement by $77 676. The Permanent Secretary informed the Committee that the ledger accounts for depreciation were now in place and that correct rates were now being used.
220.127.116.11 The Committee recommends that the Ministry submit to Parliament the ledger accounts for depreciation by 31st August 2017.
The Committee draws a general observation that the Ministry has no separate accounting units within its structure to oversee the administration of each of the four Funds under its purview, save for, the Central Vehicle Registry. This arrangement is the main source of the numerous challenges and inefficiencies confronting these Funds. There is one Chief Accountant responsible for the administration of these Funds in addition to the Appropriation Account. Consequently, the state of governance in the administration of the Funds leaves a lot to be desired. The Constitutions are very clear on the need for Management Committees to oversee the day to day administration of these Funds, but this has been ignored and there are no consequences for such non adherence to the regulations. These have to be constituted as a matter of urgency.
The attitude of the Permanent Secretary as the Accounting Officer in respect to audit issues makes a mockery of the Office of the Auditor General. This has been displayed in the manner he has responded to audit observations which did not tackle the issues at hand. The PFMA is very clear on the need to cooperate with auditors in the process of executing their constitutional mandate. To say the least, the Permanent Secretary had shown disregard for the work of the Audit office as similar issues are raised year after year without corrective action being taken. He had also shown disregard for laid down policies and procedures as he was not apologetic for violating Constitutions of Funds under the Ministry.
He had further shown disregard for the Treasury in failing to seek approval for operating outside the regulations when situations demanded so. The Permanent Secretary displayed a lax attitude even when he responded to questions put to him by the Committee. The Committee gave stern warning to the Permanent Secretary to reflect on his conduct and ensure that he provides that assurance that he is properly managing public funds in line with laid down policies and procedures.
Lastly, as observed in other Ministries, Funds are generally poorly managed by Ministries when compared to Appropriation funds as demonstrated by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. Going forward, Treasury should direct that all revenue collected under various funds be deposited into the Consolidated Fund before it can be disbursed to Fund Administrators to ensure proper utilisation. I thank you.
HON. CROSS: I think you would have gathered Madam Speaker
from this report’s contents that this is one of the worst reports that we have presented to this House in the past three years. The principal problem at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development was the attitude of the Permanent Secretary. He certainly did not cover himself with glory in his presentations to the Committee when he appeared before us. The problems which we encountered at the Ministry are many and have been adequately covered in the report itself.
I just want to bring to the House’s attention a couple of things which I regard as being of extreme importance. The first thing is the magnitude of the sums which are involved here. We are talking about in many cases millions of dollars rather than hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands. We are talking about a Permanent Secretary taking no action to discipline a member of staff who stole $190 000. We are talking about a Ministry which supervises eight of the largest parastatals in the country, including critical parastatals such as Air Zimbabwe and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), all of which are in direstraits from the financial point of view. The NRZ is not a going concern, neither is Air Zimbabwe, all of which are running at a heavy
I think the extent of administration and accounting exhibited by the Ministry Madam Speaker gives great cause for concern. I want to talk particularly today about one issue, which was the question of the licence plate fund. We pay $160 for a licence plate that in South Africa costs you $16. So, we pay ten times more than the South Africans. When we investigated this, we discovered that they have no stock system. We discovered that the contractor who supplies the licence plates has been the same contractor for 23 years. There has been no examination of costs, no scrutiny of exactly why the contractor should remain contractor for supplying number plates for 23 years and whether or not they should go to tender.
What shocked me Madam Speaker was the size of the surplus funds which were generated by this fund and the fact that the Permanent Secretary regarded these funds as being at his discretion. I would just point out that this habit inside the Government of treating levies and funds as a form of taxation; if you add all the levies and funds which we subscribed to, they constitute 30% of the cost of employment. If you add all these ancillary costs such as licence plates fees and things like that, it increases the cost of our operations in Zimbabwe very considerably. Here you have a Permanent Secretary and a Ministry which is using these funds at their discretion to make $23 million loan to Air Zimbabwe without justification, without even a note on the accounts and without even asking the Ministry of Finance to authorise them to do so simply because Air Zimbabwe cannot pay their salaries. This is unacceptable.
The fact that the Permanent Secretary has been moved from this Ministry to another Ministry without the necessary disciplinary action being taken is not good enough – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - I think what we have got to say today is that we want the Minister, Hon. Gumbo to appear before this House within ten days or as soon as possible thereafter and give a full explanation of what he has done about these issues. I do not think we should rest until that has happened.
The other question that I have Madam Speaker is the question of ZINARA. We must reckon that ZINARA today is collecting about $300 million a year and that is the revenue that is received by NSSA. It seems to me that ZINARA is treated as a cash cow by many Ministries and by individuals in Government and it is doing all sorts of things. For example, the changes to the road system outside Borrowdale Village, which have just been completed was conducted without the permission of the Municipality of Harare, without their knowledge and consultation. Not even plan approval was sought. The Mayor of Harare simply saw a contractor move on site, funded by ZINARA and they knew nothing about it. Madam Speaker, that is totally unacceptable.
In another instance in Bulawayo, the Mayor was driving to work one morning and found a contractor fixing the Hillside Road. The
Hillside Road was refurbished from one end to the other. It was done by ZINARA using ZINARA funds. The Municipality of Bulawayo was not consulted, there was no plan approval and no cash transfer to the municipality, instead of which ZINARA does not pay what the municipality should be receiving for road maintenance. Madam Speaker, this is simply not acceptable.
I acknowledge that the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development who was here a few minutes ago has in fact imposed on ZINARA some discipline because he told ZINARA to allocate a certain amount of money, that is $10 million for the municipalities, which is absolutely nothing. Harare by itself used to collect $36 million a year from licence fees and all of this goes to ZINARA now. In Bulawayo, we used to collect $9.5 million and we now collect $800 000, which is less than 10% from ZINARA.
When I look at ZINARA, I see an institution which is spending twice what it is supposed to be spending on administration. In the Act, ZINARA is supposed to limit its administrative costs to 7%. Last year, they spent 19% of revenue on administration. They have a luxury head office, they have expensive vehicles. Madam Speaker, this kind of situation cannot be tolerated. These institutions must be brought under State control and must be brought under ministerial control and they must live within their mandate. I think the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has done a great job in bringing this report to the House and I commend the report for adoption.
HON. NDUNA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to lend my voice on this quite effective report that is pregnant with a lot of issues that are very key. Yours truly is the Chairperson of the Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development. It gives me great sadness that I stand here and have to try and lend my voice in a committee that is riddled with parastatals that are non-performing to say the least. Therefore, the efforts should be directed in trying to bolster your Committee in terms of making sure that it carries out its mandate in a way that is unimpeded, that is going to make sure that these parastatals get out of the doldrums of economic quagmire and incompetence that they are currently in, as opposed to trying to dissipate and make sure they disintegrate the committee from other sectors.
Madam Speaker, the issue that the parastatals or the Ministry has got about 27 revenue streams of which 15 are non-computerised and are non-accounted for and maybe just below 15 are accounted for in terms of effective monitoring is unjustifiable and should not be condoned. I want to give you a snippet of what monitoring of revenue streams and computerisation of them can do to a sector. Currently, the Ministry has requested in the 2017 Budget $5.5 million for the dualisation of the
Ruwa Turn Off to the tollgate along the Harare – Marondera Road. I want to also tell you what $6.5 million can do on the Norton to Kadoma Highway. They have requested for that amount in the 2017 Budget to dualise Norton to the Norton Tollgate. We see in this report not $5 million, not $6 million but a ubiquitous amount of money running into millions of over $10 million to $20 million that is not being accounted for because of a moribund, antiquated, rudimental and historical way of dealing with modern day issues. We need to immediately enforce revenue generation, revenue accounting systems using the right methods which are computerisation. Otherwise we will want to continue to tax the unsuspecting innocent citizenry in order to finance private individuals who are entrenched in their positions of authority in the Ministry.
By the way, the Ministry of Transport is involved in multi-billion tender processes or buying processes that involve multi-billions. For it to continue to be rudimental in the matter it is, it is certainly uncalled for. The first thing that I want to make a clarion call to are issues to do with the revenue collection systems that are not riddled with a lot of paper work but that are computerised and there is a track record, aware that if you deal with a computer, it is garbage in garbage out. If you want to deal with modern day ways of doing issues, you open a computer, input information – you leave a foot print. You leave a print there that is going to trace back where and what happened to the money. We are supposed to be custodians of our God given wealth and we are also supposed to be custodians of the taxes that Zimbabweans are paying.
We also need to do away with the issues of continuously levying of our citizens. This cannot be condoned and should not come at a time when we cannot account for the little that we have been given. We should first account for that which we have been given. I will give you an example; I am aware as your Chairperson of the Committee on Transport that annually, there is about 100 000 certificates of competences that are produced in the whole nation by VID Depots around the country. You would know, like I do, that anyone of the Hon. Members here present, at some point or the other, there has been a call from a relative or otherwise that has been called upon to produce US$150-200 in order for them to go through licencing system in the VID for them to get a certificate of competence.
What that translates to is; a minimum of US$150 will translate to US$15 million annually going to individuals. This is not going through the system and is not benefiting the nation. We are all creatures of the
Constitution and we are supposed to come here according to Section 117 – to make laws for the good order and just governance of man. We are supposed to be a Government by the people, with the people and for the people. If we continue to turn a blind eye to such issues, we certainly continue to let down our people.
The other third issue that I want to allude to is that we need to integrate all systems so that one system in the Ministry can police the other. There are more than 13 parastatals that fall under the Ministry of Transport. If they are disintegrated in their modus operandi, we are certainly fooling ourselves. We are pulling wool over ourselves. As a Committee, we asked the Minister the other time to come and make a Ministerial Statement here regarding insurance and third party insurance to which he acceded to. I applaud him for coming here to come and tell this august House that between 2009 and 2016, they only received
US$264 000 from the remittance of 12,5% on third party insurance.
A report is coming to this House but because of this report, I can tell you that before the year is out from May 2016 to date; what has been attributed to the Traffic Safety Council and to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development in general is about US$10 million. What has gotten to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development is about US$5 million. There is nothing that speaks greater in terms of financial accountability than systems speaking one to another and systems being computerised and integrated in particular, in the transport management system because I have said it; that this is a multi-billion dollar industry. If we continue to turn a blind eye, we are shooting ourselves and the nation in the foot.
The past few days have not been very good for the country in that we saw 43 people perish in a bus accident at Makuti near Karoi. Just yesterday, at Dema Growth Point, about eight people perished in a commuter omnibus. I will tell you where my heart lies in terms of financial accountability. There is money which is paid – minimum
US$400 for every public service vehicle which has a minimum of about 15 seater. This money is paid towards insurance. This money is for the bereaved in terms of compassionate compensation. They are supposed to get US$2 000-3 000. If they are injured, they are injured, they are supposed to get nothing less than US$1 000. What we have seen in the Lion King bus where 43 people perished, we saw Insurance Council of Zimbabwe rise to the fore to say that they had insured that bus and they have paid an amount that is equivalent to about US$2 000 towards the bereaved families. This is the sort of scenario we would want to occur even at Dema Growth Point accident but alas, this cannot occur like that because that passenger insurance is not yet computerised. So, the unsuspecting innocent citizens are going to die for free whilst monies are being received by phony, fraudulent and fakesters because of lack of computerisation.
Computerisation can plug illicit outflows, revenue leakages and it can have a spike in revenue generation. I call for such computerisation right now and integration of all systems. Last week, the Minister of Home Affairs came in to say, as long as they are embedded in the transport management system of the country, there is going to be a lot of revenue generation; not only that, there is going to be an unimpeded advance towards economic development because of the reduction of road blocks. It was not I who said it. It was the Minister of Home Affairs who said it under oath. He said that it was going to occur this week. As your Committee Madam Speaker Maam, we are awaiting for the spike in revenue generation, effective policing and reduction and eradication of road blocks. That Madam Speaker Maam, speaks to an effective and efficient transport management system. As long as we do not integrate these systems, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
As I conclude, we have spoken so vociferously all the time about the parastatals that fall under the Ministry of Transport. These include Air Zimbabwe, the Civil Aviation Authority, CMED and NRZ. I am aware that the US$653 million required at NRZ that is as enshrined in your report from your Committee. I am also aware there is a US$1,300 billion required at Air Zimbabwe. I am also alive to the issue that there is a lot of money owed by ZEC to CMED. As alluded to in this report, if Government does not take over the debt of Air Zimbabwe and clean the balance sheet of National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), you might as well abolish your Committee because we have nothing to do. We need to efficiently monitor and have oversight on these parastatals, aware that they are turning over a new leaf.
Madam Speaker, why do I say this? Government took over the COTTCO debt of US$68 million. It has given more than four seasons worth of free inputs to cotton farmers. It can also take over the debt of Air Zimbabwe and NRZ so that you make the Auditor-General’s job very easy and you also make the job of yours truly and your Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development quite amenable to modern day trends in order that we can be embedded as Air Zimbabwe with other international organisations and airlines to create an aviation hub that is second to none, in particular at Victoria Falls airport and to also complement and augment the existing rail network then we can create a north-south corridor that is second to none. By so doing, we can obviously have an effective, efficient, transparent and illicit outflows and flaws free transport system. I thank you.
HON. MARIDADI: Thank you Madam Speaker. Let me start by saying here the vision and mission of the Auditor-General, the Auditor-
General’s Office is a creation of this Parliament. It says, “to examine, audit and report to Parliament on the management of public resources of Zimbabwe through committed and motivated staff with the aim of improving accountability and corporate governance.”
The reason I am reading this mission statement is that I am holding three books here. One is of Appropriation, one is of State Enterprises and the other one is of local authorities for 2016 that have been tabled in this Parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development. What it means is that the Auditor-General is now up to date and for a very long time, the Auditor-General was four to five years behind and now she is up to date. So she is living up to her mission and vision.
What I understand is that the first five year term of the AuditorGeneral is coming to an end and for me, we do not change a winning formula and we must not change a winning team. The Auditor-General as it is, is a winning team and formula. I would implore that the Auditor-General is given another five year term so that she continues with her good work – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – What I know, with the reports that the Auditor-General has submitted to this
Parliament through the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, is that there is a lot of Hannah Hannah in the corridors of power to probably not renew her contract so that people are not audited. I am going to put that aside but, borrowing from Hon. Nduna’s English, my clarion call is that the Auditor-General is given another five year term so that she continues with her good work.
Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, the report that has been presented by the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee makes very sad reading. I have browsed through the Appropriation of 2016 and it makes equally very sad reading. The Permanent Secretary who was in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development who has just been transferred to another Ministry is a former General Manager of National Railways of Zimbabwe. He then became a Principal Director in Government, was promoted to Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Transport and
Infrastructural Development and now moved to Ministry of Mines and Mining Development. The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development in Zimbabwe is one of the most problematic because money has been lost in that sector. The President has alluded that money has been lost in that sector.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Munodawafa is replacing Prof. Gudyanga who has been recommended to be fired by your Parliament because of incompetence and fraud. The Portfolio Committee on Public Service has recommended that he be fired yet he has been transferred to another Ministry. I am so happy that the Vice President who is the deputy head of State, the deputy head of Government and the deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces is here. I want to ask a question to Hon. Vice President Mphoko - what goes on in your head when you hear a report like the one that has been presented in this
Parliament? Do you go home, eat supper and sleep? – [HON. HOLDER: Address the Speaker!] - In this Parliament, back benchers are not in this Parliament to protect Ministers. They must know that – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] - Back benchers are not here to protect speakers. The Vice President of Zimbabwe, Hon. Mphoko, the Vice President of Zimbabwe Hon. Mnangagwa and the Head of State of this country, Cde Robert Mugabe are very intelligent men. They do not need to be protected by back benchers because they can protect themselves –
[HON. MEMBERS: Yes!] – Why should a back bencher who got –
[HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Members.
HON. HOLDER: On a point of order Madam Speaker! – [HON.
MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order – [HON.
HOLDER: Point of order!] – Order, order Hon. Members, Hon. Vice President Mphoko please.
THE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF NATIONAL
HEALING, PEACE AND RECONCILIATION (HON. MPHOKO):
I want to help him so that at least he continues. Madam Speaker, he asked about how we feel when such reports are presented? Personally, I am very allergic to corruption, I do not like it. I am not a corrupt man. –
[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Thank you. – [HON. MARIDADI:
Thank you. Ngiyabonga baba Mphoko, ngiyabonga kakhulu.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Maridadi
please stick to the debate. – [HON. HOLDER: Inaudible interjection.] – Hon. Holder, I will not allow any points of order at this juncture. The Hon. Vice President has spoken and I will not allow you to speak after him. – [HON. HOLDER: Zvakanaka!] – Hon. Maridadi, please continue with your debate.
HON. MARIDADI: Madam Speaker, the audit system that we use in Zimbabwe is the same audit system that is used in Malawi, Zambia and almost the same audit system that is used in South Africa. I have taken the liberty to look at all those jurisdictions and did a comparative analysis of what happens in those jurisdictions.
When they present audit reports in the Parliament of Malawi, the Minister who is in charge of that Ministry, if it is the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and whatever, the Permanent Secretaries of ministries that the Committee has oversight on are in Parliament seated there. The Ministers are in Parliament, they are seated there and the report is presented. The Minister will rise and respond to that report and say exactly what they are going to do in response to issues that have been raised in that report and that is the system that we must adopt in this country. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – Hon. Dr. Gumbo should have been there, Mr. Munodawafa should have been seated in that chair and Hon. Mpariwa should have been reading this report. I would have asked Hon. Dr. Gumbo - are you going to have a good night’s sleep after listening to this report? I would have asked Mr.
Munodawafa - what are you going to do after listening to this report because an honourable man would simply say, Minister, I have failed and here is my resignation. I have eaten enough money and done enough corruption. Here is my resignation letter – [HON. MEMBERS:
Hear, hear.] –
Madam Speaker, my blood boils when I go back to the constituency. The house that I live in, tonight we do not know where our meal is going to come from, our supper. I do not know where my supper is going to come from tonight. In the house next door, they also do not know where their supper is going to come from and we have a report which says $97 million cannot be accounted for. Madam Speaker, $97 million is about 1.2 billion rands. If you take $97 million and put it in Mutare Municipality, even stray cats in Mutare will change their lifestyles because they will realise money has been put into this town. That money cannot be accounted for and there is a gentleman who is driving a Government vehicle, going to his house, enjoying a salary and nothing has happened to him. He has been re-assigned to another
Ministry where he is going to continue pilferage to the coffers of this country. It cannot be accepted.
One day I was in the Portfolio Committee and there was one gentleman who came to give evidence. I was saying, how about Parliament going to Highfield, Mukumbura, Mabvuku and Kuwadzana and do these sessions with the public of which the public would hear that the gentleman who is giving evidence has just misappropriated $1.1 million and nothing has happened. Anorohwa kuMabvuku ikoko. People in Mabvuku will kill him because this money does not belong to me or to this Parliament. It belongs to the 15 million of us in Zimbabwe.
What pains me most is that Zimbabwe is endowed with people with skills? Why do we recycle the same 21 Permanent Secretaries as if they are the only people who are called Zimbabweans? For the life of myself, I cannot understand why Parliament has recommended that somebody should be fired but instead of being fired he has been put into a Ministry where there are more revenue streams.
Madam Speaker, I was in that Portfolio Committee when Mr.
Munodawafa came, he confessed that it does not really matter how much money we put into Air Zimbabwe. Air Zimbabwe can never be viable for as long as they use the business model that they are using. It is there; it is recorded and he said it, yet he is the same man, one month earlier he allowed $27 million to be put into Air Zimbabwe without even a single sentence to say I have put money into that parastatal. That money has been thrown down a bottomless pit and it will never be recovered.
That level of impunity; that level of entitlement cannot be allowed to continue. I can guarantee you, with this type of reports, one day we will not be Members of Parliament, but our sons and daughters will be Members of this Parliament. They will go and spit on our graves and say, what were you doing in that Parliament talking and talking and yet you allowed these fraudsters to continue to steal our money.
There is another issue of $ 1.9 million which has been stolen. We have orphans; children who have lost both parents to either road accidents or diseases. Those children are not going to school and yet this Government fails to account for $1.9 million and the person who has caused the disappearance of that $1.9 million is still there wearing a suit, going to a Government Complex and pretending to be working for Government. It is not acceptable – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
The Lion King accident claimed two people from my constituency. One of them was a young woman, 32 years old and she left two young children. One is about nine months old and the other one is about 4 years old. We were at that funeral and Government had not disbursed $200 for the funeral. There are children who have to be looked after until they turn 18 years. Those children – [HON. HOLDER: Inaudible interjection.] – I will not listen to that man. I will call him names if he continues to do that and I will not be very charitable when I call him names.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, focus on the
HON. MARIDADI: Please tell him to keep quiet. We are
discussing serious matters here and if he continues to disturb me, I will call him names and I will call him names that is so unpalatable; he will never like me. I am very good at that by the way.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order Hon. Maridadi. I
will not allow emotions to go over this motion because it is important for us to have a report of this motion. Hon. Holder please, can you please respect the Member who is speaking so that he can debate. If you have any comments, I will allow you to debate on the same matter.
HON. MARIDADI: This matter is a serious issue. I get
emotional about this matter because it is a serious issue. This is
Zimbabwean money which is being stolen by individuals that we know. I represent a constituency of about 80 thousand people. If I go round that constituency, there are households and I am going to one of such households today, where there are 18 people living at that household; none of them knows where to get the next meal.
I was talking about that lady who passed on. The children, one of them is about one year old and the other is about four years old. We do not have a mechanism of looking after the disadvantaged in society.
Those children must now be a responsibility of this Government. Now, how can the State take responsibility of such people when such money is disappearing without trace?
Madam Speaker, we are talking here of ZINARA – [HON.
HOLDER: Inaudible interjection.] –
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Holder, I will not allow
you to continue in that way. If you continue to shout, I will not hesitate to chase you out of this House.
HON. MARIDADI: ZINARA, when I hear the word ZINARA….
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. Maridadi, you are left
with five minutes. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – Hon. Members on my right, this is a very important motion.
HON. MARIDADI: I am left with five minutes but I am being disturbed. My recommendation Madam Speaker; the Portfolio
Committee Chairperson has given timelines of what must be done. Those timelines must be observed. If this Parliament wants to be taken seriously by the people that we represent out there, heads in Government must roll. The first head to roll in this Government is that of Mr.
Munodawafa. Concurrently, the head that must roll is that of Professor Gudyanga. If it were me running the show, I would expect the Minister to come with the resignation of the Permanent Secretary. He hands it over to the President and says Mr. President, here is the resignation letter from the Permanent Secretary and by the way, here is my resignation as well and they leave together. Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you.
HON. MAJOME: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank
and congratulate, Hon. Paurina Mpariwa the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee and her Committee for continuing to execute their duties and unfortunately, depress us with an endless litany of misappropriation of public funds in our nation. At the beginning when Hon. Mpariwa was speaking, there was a lot of hub-hub and discussion in the House. When she continued with the report, I started thinking that possibly the reason why Hon. Members were continuing to hum and not listening, was that may be we have gotten to the very shameful and unfortunate point where we are now accustomed to the fact that whenever the Public Accounts Committee issues a report on the performance of accounts and appropriations in any Government department, we now know that there is always misappropriation, pilfering and disappeared funds.
Madam Speaker, it is a very sad state of affairs. It appears as if we have become numb and we do not expect anything different that we can actually predict that she is going to tell us that the Auditor General condemned this procedure, found unsupported expenditure and so on and so on, and indeed it is. What then becomes different is only the amounts that are lost and that are unaccounted for or maybe the manner or the attitude of the people responsible.
Madam Speaker, I think it is time that this Parliament, that we shake ourselves and awake from our slumber. We cannot sit here day by day, listen and just digest and take in all these shocking reports of pilfering. I do agree with Hon. Members who spoke before me, US$65 million is a shocking amount of money to just disappear, as it were, to
be unaccounted for. For a Government to be prejudiced or potentially prejudiced of US$65 million is totally wrong.
Madam Speaker, I want to ask fellow members of the august House, what it is that we are doing and what we are going to do about this because the way that these monies have disappeared is actually unconstitutional. Even our Constitution itself went to detail in explaining and detailing what it is that must be happening to public funds.
In part four of the chapter on Public Finances, Chapter 17, it lays out duties of custodians of funds and property. Now, this former
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development that was being talked about and the other officers who seem to have connived in one way or the other, are custodians of public property as envisaged by Section 308.
Subsection 2 provides that it is the duty of every person who is responsible for the expenditure of public funds to safe guard those funds and to ensure that they are spent only for legally authorised purposes and in legally authorised amounts. Subsection 3 provides further that they also have a duty, those who have the custody and control of public property, to safeguard the property and ensure that it is not lost, destroyed, damaged, misapplied or misused.
In this case, we have been told by the Portfolio Committee that stocks pertaining to number plates are not accounted for and that is only one of the issues. Madam Speaker, we are also told that this Parliament must provide, in Subsection 4 of Section 308, and I quote, ‘the speedy detection of breeches of subsections 2 and 3, that is the misappropriation of funds or the misappropriation of property and the disciplining and punishment of persons responsible for any such breaches and where appropriate, the recovery of misappropriated funds or property’.
In that light, Madam Speaker, I want to recommend that for once, in resolving, and I hope we will adopt this report, that we go further and actually execute what is said in the Constitution. There must be prosecutions of these people who pilfered funds. Our duty, as
Parliament, is to ensure that our Constitution is upheld. We have a
Prosecutor General who is established in terms of Chapter 13 and in Section 259 the Prosecutor General is empowered to direct the
Commissioner General of the Police to investigate any suspected crime.
In winding up the motion of this report, I want to propose that we go even further. It is clear that there is money missing here. I want to propose that the House resolves that the Prosecutor General is recommended to exercise their powers in terms of Section 259 and have the Commissioner General to specifically investigate the commission of criminal offenses regarding the various amounts that had been lost in one way or the other. I also want to propose that in terms of Section 308 (4) that this Parliament is enjoined to also provide mechanisms of not only prosecuting and stopping this, but also recover monies.
The report read by Hon. Mpariwa tells us that an amount of possibly US$1.9 million was spent in making telephones for the Ministry and that only when safeguards were put in place, the amount dropped to US$649 thousand. Madam Speaker, I want to propose that this House uses its power to also recommend that monies that were expended making telephone calls, which I assume using Tel One lines, are recovered and specifically, that the Ministry is recommended to get print-outs from Tel One that indicate the numbers that were telephoned and for there to be a forensic owning up of the numbers and whoever it is who would have telephoned on private business would be made to recover that money.
I also have a word for the Attorney General’s office as well. We are told that the contract that pertains to the collection of monies from ZINARA for the Limpopo bridge was done in a manner that did not have a contract that was drafted. Madam Speaker, we have a whole
Ministry that has legal expertise and the Attorney General’s office which is, in terms of the Constitution, enjoined to give Government legal advice. I want to propose and recommend that the Committee also ensures that there is improvement in the way that legal relationships are entered with the Government. That the Attorney General’s Office takes a more proactive and a more responsible role, as far as going over and drafting contracts, to ensure that we do not have such large amounts of money and such valuable contracts being conducted in a manner that is totally unknown.
Madam Speaker, I cannot avoid speaking about the reason why I moved to debate in this motion. On our Order Paper, we have order number 41, that is a motion that is pending before this House, pertaining to the use of monies by ZINARA. I want to implore upon this House to finally resolve and to avoid us the shame that Hon. Maridadi was referring to, that our descendents will spit on our graves if they ask us,
‘what we were doing when we were sitting in that Parliament and being entertained by endless reports of pilferages’, that we actually take action. It would not be necessary to move motions to ensure that monies be taken back to local authorities. Like even Hon. Cross has mentioned that the municipalities of Harare and Bulawayo, just as an example, are not receiving monies for the repairing of roads.
Madam Speaker, in the Constituency that I represent in Harare
West, I was just speaking in Good Hope there. If we were to go to Good Hope suburb you would be forgiven to think you are in some rural outpost in God knows where. The residents are extremely upset, they are extremely angry. They are having to get money out of their pockets to repair roads and yet we hear that ZINARA, in this particular report, misappropriates money, not by the pick or by the shovel, but by whole earth movers and yet the roads in our localities are gone.
Just on Friday or so, Madam Speaker, I read with sadness, the report that a headmaster from a school in Kwekwe lost his life coming from a teacher’s union meeting in Kariba when the car they were travelling in tried to avoid a pot hole, rolled and the school head was killed. I want us, as we debate this motion and the pilfering of monies that are for roads, to remember that the cost of financial impropriatory, the cost of stealing money from taxpayers in this way results in lives being lost, apart from the Lion King Bus, but the numbers of
Zimbabweans who have lost their lives perishing on the roads – is what this US$65 million prejudice costs.
Madam Speaker I want to urge that Hon. Members do resolve and unite in order to make sure that we assist the Portfolio Committee that has exposed this to indeed, take measures for once for heads to roll. As I indicated, Madam Speaker, especially where we are told that the Permanent Secretary who was in that Ministry showed total lack of remorse and seemed to think that it is particularly okay. I do not blame him because surely, if he can be in charge of pilfering and actually supervise over the missing of funds and not hold account, I am sure he is in his right senses to actually act like it does not matter because he has actually been promoted. I would believe that a transfer to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is a promotion.
It has not mattered so far, but Madam Speaker, let this House put an end to this and draw a line and have consequences visiting upon people. Let us not continue to be numb about these issues. Madam Speaker, I therefore end my debate by exhorting Hon. Members to indeed, finally resolve to take strident and action, as well as the Anti Corruption Commission. What does it do, why do we have an Anti-
Corruption Commission when this is corruption of the highest order? It has become the order of the day and there are very wide powers that the Anti-Corruption Commission has to stop this kind of behavior. The next public official who flouts Government tender procedures or expenditure procedures must know that Parliament will not tolerate it and that we have better discipline. I thank you Madam Speaker.
ADJOURNMENT OF THE HOUSE
HON. RUNGANI: I move that the debate do now adjourn.
HON. NDUNA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
Debate to resume: Wednesday, 28th June, 2017.
HON. ADV. CHAMISA: I just want to thank Hon. Mphoko for
being here. We really appreciate. It is a very good thing. Thank you Vice President, we appreciate your presence. When we have Vice Presidents in the House, it gives dignity to the reports that are being given. Thank you very much for your time. We really appreciate.
The House accordingly adjourned at Seven Minutes past Five o’clock p.m.