Target corrupt ministers: Judge

PARLIAMENT should enact a code of conduct for the Vice-President, Cabinet ministers and their deputies to ensure accountability and curb rampant corruption and abuse of office by public office bearers, retired High Court judge Justice Moses Chinhengo has said.

EVERSON MUSHAVA

Chinhengo told Parliamentarians at an oversight bodies’ breakfast meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in Harare yesterday that the recent “Salarygate” exposés provided a compelling need for a code of conduct for ministers who could be complicit in the scandals.

“Section 106(3) requires Parliament to enact laws prescribing a code of conduct for the Vice-President, ministers and deputy ministers,” Justice Chinhengo said.

“The recent reports of widespread scandals in parastatals where permanent secretaries and chief executive officers of State-controlled enterprises awarded themselves high and unsustainable salaries right in front of ministers or possibly with their complicity indicates the need to enact a code of conduct for the ministers, deputy ministers and the VP.”

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last month had to put a $6 000 monthly salary cap on bosses of public institutions after it emerged some of them were earning astronomical and unsustainable salaries at the expense of service delivery.

Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) was struggling to repay a $40 million debt to service providers while its top management was gobbling at least
$1 million monthly in basic salaries.

Former PSMAS boss Cuthbert Dube was reportedly earning over $500 000 per month.

Suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere was also pocketing about $40 000 a month at a time workers had gone for over seven months without salaries.

Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi was also said to be earning a mega-salary at a time council is failing to provide clean water, health services and repair a dilapidated road network.

Justice Chinhengo said the involvement of permanent secretaries and chief executive officers of public institutions, some reporting directly to ministers, could suggest that the ministers were complicit in the murky dealings.

President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, who doubles as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Higher Education secretary Washington Mbizvo, Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Constance Chigwamba, to mention a few, have been fingered in some of the mega-salary deals, alongside parastatal bosses.

Justice Chinhengo said Parliament should enact laws to ensure that the public was provided with services in a transparent and accountable manner and that appointment of personnel in the public service was done on merit.

He said lack of impartiality among civil servants, particularly security personnel, also compromised accountability.

Justice Chinhengo said Zimbabwe had a plethora of good laws that could be used to hold leaders to account.

“Section 239 of the Constitution provides for Zec (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) to run national elections effectively and transparently. In the last general elections, it will be a matter of debate,” he said. “There was an unprecedented failure by Zec to provide the voters’ roll on time or it was not available at all. And is this how you can run an election in a transparent manner?”

MPs and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said the oversight role of Parliamentarians was limited by lack of funding from Treasury. MPs said they needed constituency offices and research assistants, apart from money to travel around seeing things for themselves than relying on inviting people to the august House.

They said the $35 million allocated to Parliament in the 2014 National Budget was a far cry from what was needed for them to carry out their oversight roles.

But Justice Chinhengo said if politicians were aware of the limitations in funds, it could have been prudent for them to vote for a leaner Parliament that could be sustained by the budget. He said Zimbabwe actually has more MPs than other countries with much bigger populations.

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20 Comments

  1. Thank you Sir for such a detailed observation. Zimbabwe has the highest number of MP and yet our country has small population. Do we really deserve all those useless people? This is costing our nation in terms of their salaries and already our economy is in the intensive care unit. This is why we need a new brand of leaders and Government with a few MPs and ministers not this crazy selection of friends for example ministry of education with six ministers. What do we expect from a 90year old man to do.

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  2. @hoko pamunda. The new constitution is a product of the political parties and the Zimbabweans who voted for its adoptation and not the ninety year old. Unfortunately our learned judge Moses Chinhengo was part of the team that wrote the constitution over four years instead of the six months so as to maximise their looting which he is now blasting after being paid obscene salaries and allowances for the shoddy work which allowed him to retire from active work in Botswana. Its case of a kettle calling another black.

  3. Gandanga, Zimbabweans had no option we could be writing and writing constitutions, We are hostages of politicians and the number of MPs was not from the people. people leanrt the hard way when they voted No last time. The NO was just a protest vote but not an informed vote. The last yes vote was just to say ah todiiko regai izvi zvidarike but seriously if you check with our parliament I think we need an MP per disctrict period and 10% of that number as Ministers. Deputy Ministers in Zimbabwe are just office bearers doing nothing ask Christopher Mutsvangwa he will tell you this, so we don’t need them.

  4. I get your sense @GANDANGA but is there any act in the constitution that allows Ministers and connected friends of big fish to abuse Government funds at the expense of the entire nation? Corruption is corruption. Everything has got an end. People are taking advantage of oldman. We want our country to be led by people who knows that if I steal next day if discovered my job is finished
    Not the recycled bunch of thieves who started working as ministers since 1980

  5. i dont understand. why is the code of conduct the judge is talking about leaving out the president. is he not doing anything wrong. for he is the person to be mentioned more than anybody else. are we helping him escape the wrong he has done for this country. i wont.

  6. in zim therz no majority involvement in strategy formulation.
    the mps are too much and their deputies a useless shame.
    hv yu ever noted that if for exampl the minister of homeaffairs is out on duty; another minister from a different ministry can be left to act instead of the deputy.
    some deputies remain silent upto the expiration of their tenure of office.
    govt deparments hv no vehicles to use wn those min hv more than one each accumulating from way back when they joined this flash job.
    govt deparments again and the ministries hv bn split unstrategically bt intentionally as it seems so as to create and extent the comfort base to the fortunate friends.
    Thankx judge for such an independent view of the true state of our beloved country.

  7. aerial production

    first we shud big up our president for not being corrupt. The problem is some of his ministers and Zanu PF officials take advantage of the good heart in Mugabe to be overvorrupt. They know they cannot be fired. Thts why RG pafair he doesnt trust his Cadres worse off of the presidency

    1. Aerial production indeed. Obviously from somewhere in the clouds. If you read the comments above, they all literally point to one person and his name is Robert G. Mugabe. All the corruption we talk of ends with him and he has been known, when he could still act, for doing absolutely nothing about it. Ofcourse we do not expect him to do anything for Zimbabwe now. The only favor he can do our beloved country now is to resign yet we all know he will never do that. This man must now be the owner of the largest number of farms in the country(both in terms of size and number) and he has made sure he takes good care of everybody who sings his praises. Your president is but a national tragedy, thats what.

  8. for those who have looted, looting with impunity, the time shall come.
    true justice shall force us to apply some measure, laws or what in retrospect.
    true justice shall compell the govt to attach and confiscate the properties deemed to hv been acquired be corrution criminal abuse of office as public officers and misuse public funds

  9. Yes, corruption is the biggest problem in this country. The next big problem is that those in positions of power do not seem to be concerned.

  10. Well said Chinengo,hope the Palamentarians understand what you are saying.

  11. The laws should be targeted from the President’s office with punitive action being taken for those found guilty. Currently corruption is rooted in all GoZ offices, ministries including Mugabe’s office. Mugabe’s office is not audited by the Auditor General in order to conceal lots of illegal activities happening esp the so called Presidential agricultural inputs scheme, scholarship scheme, and various donations done by the so called Zim 1 and his office. Cry the Beloved Zimbo.

  12. Corruption is rife in Zim since 1980. Yes Chinhengo is right but the laws should be for every leader.The laws should be targeted from the President’s office with punitive action being taken for those found guilty. Currently corruption is rooted in all GoZ offices, ministries including Mugabe’s office. Mugabe’s office is not audited by the Auditor General in order to conceal lots of illegal activities happening esp the so called Presidential agricultural inputs scheme, scholarship scheme, and various donations done by the so called Zim 1 and his office. Cry the Beloved Zimbo.

  13. Laws alone can not help. It is time to walk the talk and arrest those who are corrupt.Corruption is rife in Zim since 1980. Yes Chinhengo is right but the laws should be for every leader.The laws should be targeted from the President’s office with punitive action being taken for those found guilty. Currently corruption is rooted in all GoZ offices, ministries including Mugabe’s office. Mugabe’s office is not audited by the Auditor General in order to conceal lots of illegal activities happening esp the so called Presidential agricultural inputs scheme, scholarship scheme, and various donations done by the so called Zim 1 and his office. Cry the Beloved Zimbo.

  14. The reason why Zimbabwe is mired in corruption and is never going to eradicate corruption is because the corrupt government officials are bullies who think people owe them a debt of gratitude for “liberating the country” and so should do as they please. These corrupt government officials are not afraid of anyone. They are untouchable. Some of the corrupt officials are so-called war veterans and are untouchable. To make matters worse people were urged to endorse a silly constitution one provision which is “The State must take reasonable measures, including legislative measures, for the welfare and economic empowerment of veterans” – to ensure so-called war veterans’ welfare and prosperity is above everyone else’s – A RECIPE FOR CORRUPTION. How then can anyone in their right mind expect corruption to be eradicated when the Constitution allows so-called war veterans to get richer than all of us?

  15. Cde Shingai Tinotonga Zimbabwe

    Ho nhai?

  16. It is the same old song with a different meaning!!!

  17. Not only do we have an unnecessarily huge number of Parliamentarians, we also have a bloated cabinet of Ministers who have a string of deputies and then permanent secretaries who are all paid huge salaries and allowances. There is also the issue of ghost workers. With all this put together, we would need ‘miracle money’ for the state machinery to run smoothly.

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