ZIMBABWE Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) chief executive officer, Fredrick Mandizvidza, yesterday sprang to the defence of Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, telling MPs that the fraud allegations levelled against him as trustee of the parastatal were false.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Mandizvidza told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education that there was no evidence to prove that Moyo diverted over $400 000 from Zimdef to fund other activities outside manpower development.
He also denied claims that he had also abused Zimdef money for personal use.
“We are not aware of any mismanagement of funds taking place at Zimdef and the fact is that all of our books, as far as we are concerned, are in order and over the years we have been audited and our books have received a clean bill of health,” Mandizvidza said.
“If there are allegations of misuse, let they be substantiated and put before the courts of law, so that the law takes its course because such allegations are from people, who are not even coming to look at our books to say funds have been misappropriated,” he said.
“When the ministry comes up with any programme to support skills development, it is the minister’s prerogative to say we must focus on the science, technology, education and maths (Stem) module. The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) programme in question was facilitated to showcase administration of the latest technologies at institutions of higher learning. To then conclude and say the channelling of those resources was abuse is an exaggeration, and that is why I am saying let the law take its course.”
This was after acting committee chairperson, Paradzai Chadona quizzed him, saying: “There were allegations that Zimdef funds were channelled for the purchase of vehicles, paying fuel for a youth political organisation, financing ministry activities at the ZITF to the tune of $1 million, paying for ministry ZBC adverts, and other misuse, please explain.”
Memory Munochinzva (MDC-T Proportional Representation MP) also took Mandizvidza to task to explain why he had presented financial reports for the period 2012 to 2015, leaving out last year’s figures.
A recent probe by the National Manpower Advisory Council audit committee indicated that Mandizvidza accessed a $35 000 loan to renovate his house at Alexandra Park in 2013, and also got an educational loan of $21 654 over and above a free education allowance paid by Zimdef for his four children.
Moyo has been implicated alongside his deputy, Godfrey Gandiwa and the matter is pending at the courts.
When Chakona put it to Mandizvidza that Moyo had admitted that they used Zimdef funds to buy fuel for Zanu PF youths, the Zimdef boss insisted that there was no misdirection of funds.
“If there were any resources misdirected elsewhere, let the facts be put on the table. As far as we are concerned, we have not misdirected resources,” Mandizvidza said, also disputing reports that Zimdef was planning a staff retrenchment exercise after failing to pay employees.
Chakona ordered Zimdef to bring before Parliament their statements of audit to settle the dust over the alleged misuse of funds and questioned the logic of paying fees for students pursuing Stem subjects as if the country had a shortage of science graduates.
“There are thousands of engineers in the country that are jobless and these are the ones that you should have targeted so that they do research and come up with inventions,” Chakona said.