Members of Parliament who took delivery of vehicles from a $13 million motor vehicle revolving fund were not repaying the vehicle loans, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri said in her report for the financial year ending December 2014.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The Finance and Economic Development ministry paid suppliers for procurement of vehicles for MPs through a loan scheme.
“My audit revealed that members of the Eighth Parliament were not repaying the vehicle loans as required by Section 4 (b) of the Parliament of Zimbabwe Motor Vehicle Revolving Fund Constitution,” Chiri’s report read.
“Parliament of Zimbabwe did not open books of accounts to record the indebtedness of the MPs to government.”
The audit showed a nil return for the Motor Vehicle Revolving Fund was submitted for audit, an indication that nothing was owed by MPs, despite that Parliament had in its files loan agreements signed by MPs.
“The risk and implication is that without maintaining records of indebtedness, the loan amounts owed by MPs might not be recovered during the tenure of the Eighth Parliament as what happened with the Seventh Parliament,” the report said.
Chiri said when Parliament management was approached they said the Finance ministry had provided funding for the MPs to purchase their vehicles from Croco Motors.
“All MPs prior to collection of vehicles signed loan agreement forms confirming repayment of the vehicle loans. In order to facilitate repayment of the loans with CBZ, the Finance ministry directed Parliament to treat the payments of the same as capital transfer under the Parliament budget. Letters confirming the same were submitted to Parliament. Therefore, no money was deposited into the fund prior to disbursements,” Parliament management had reportedly responded.
Management also said MPs had agreed their unpaid sitting allowances got the Eighth Parliament were to be credited to their vehicle loans based on provision of funds by Treasury.
“To date only $900 000 has been availed by Treasury and this amount was utilised as part payment of the loan to CBZ. It is in this context that a nil return by MPs has not commenced as Treasury has not yet started making available resources to pay MPs allowances since 2013,” Parliament told Chiri.
But, Chiri said Parliament should consider that the sitting allowances owed to MPs may not clear the debts hence the need for MPs to start repaying the loans in line with the fund’s constitution.