BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) on Monday revealed that it was probing the Presidential Scholarship Programme and the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm), with the findings to be made public soon.
Zacc has been monitoring public hospitals and clinics to curb thefts and ensure drugs are not diverted to the black market.
This followed checks that were recently done at the country’s drug procurement and supply entity, NatPharm.
Zacc recently arrested deputy director scholarships in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Oliver Mucherwa, and two workers in the same office, Godknows Mupembe and Silent Mubariki for allegedly abusing the Presidential Scholarship Programme.
On Monday, Zacc manager (ethics and public education) Munyaradzi Magiga told a validation workshop on the draft national anti-corruption strategy that the commission’s probe on the two institutions was on-going and findings would be made public soon.
“We wouldn’t call them investigations as such, we are calling them system reviews. These system reviews are done only to make sure that the organisation is sticking to good corporate governance, the way it tackles its day-to-day duties,” Magiga said.
“We are saying we have done this with the presidential national scholarships and the report is almost ready. We have also done the same with NatPharm and the findings will be made public, but I can assure you that we are trying as much as possible to use the same reports to advise these departments to stick to good principles of corporate governance.”
Magiga said it was of fundamental importance that citizens were equipped with relevant information.
He added that they had received reports that teachers were charging extra lessons in foreign currency.
“What the teachers are doing is that they charge at least US$12 per head per month and it is multiplied by the number of children in the classroom, and at some schools, 70% goes to the teacher and 30% to the administration,” he said.
“We also discovered that if a new pupil is looking for a place, the minimum amount that is charged per school is US$15 and it is distributed as $5 to the teacher responsible for recruitment, US$5 to the bursar and US$5 to the school head and it is the biggest problem, particularly in Harare.”
Magiga said they discovered that the extra lessons were being conducted during school hours.
“What happens is that the few children who managed to pay forex to the teacher, you find them scrunching around the teacher’s table while the rest of the students who did not pay are told to play or sleep (during learning hours) and this is not good for the nation,” he said.
The Zacc official said this was illegal and they had so far visited six schools giving a directive that starting January, all foreign currency that was drawn from parents should be returned.
He said they wanted to see a register signed by parents proving, indeed, that the money had been returned to them.
Added Magiga: “All Zimbabweans should fight corruption. Let this be a national fight because Zacc is just a small institution. Citizens should have access to information. For example, people should have knowledge on how to access mines such that when they are applying, they will know where there is corruption.
“Every institution should produce a report every month so that every citizen in Zimbabwe can be able to follow up what the institution is doing and get empowered.”
Magiga said corruption raised the cost of doing business, facilitated the misallocation and wastage of resources, discouraged foreign investment and retarded economic growth and development.