Zimbabwe is in the process of crafting its own national corporate governance code, Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri told a corporate governance workshop for senior staff within her department recently.
The workshop held in Harare early this week was organised by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe and attended by Farai Musamba (chief executive), Grace Chella and Elliot Mugamu, both of whom are past presidents of the institute.
“The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, as the external auditors of government, forms one of the key units of the building blocks of corporate governance in the public sector,” said Chiri.
“It is necessary, therefore, that we appreciate how corporate governance operates in the private sector so we can extrapolate and recommend its virtues for implementation in the public sector.”
She added corporate governance was a system where companies were directed and controlled in the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders.
When properly applied, the system provides checks and balances to ensure the smooth running of an entity and controls any excesses by individuals within an organisation.
“In other words the basic purpose of corporate governance is to monitor those parties within a company which control the resources owned by investors. It ensures there is a suitable balance of power on the board of directors,” she said.
The key concepts underpinning corporate governance were fairness, openness or transparency, independence, probity or honesty, responsibility, accountability, reputation, judgment and integrity.
“These characteristics are very important in any organisation as they also help in the development of an appropriate moral stance,” she said.
Countries such as Britain, United States and South Africa, have already adopted national corporate governance codes.
“In the United Kingdom they have the combined code, in the United States SOX, in South Africa King III and in Zimbabwe we are in the process of crafting our own code.
“We already have a corporate governance framework for parastatals,” she said.