Non-profit organisation, King David Global Foundation is under investigation for failing to deliver on a million COVID-19 masks pledge made to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
This was disclosed yesterday by Department of Civil Protection director Nathan Nkomo when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance to speak on how his department had received and accounted for COVID-19 donations in cash and kind.
Nkomo said funds received to date included US$3,3 million, R15 million and $10 million, while other donations included medicines, personal protective equipment and food items such as grain.
At first Nkomo did not mention the organisation, but committee chair Felix Mhona pressed him to do so, saying he was protected by parliamentary privileges, adding that after donations were made at State House, people kept an eye on them to see how they would be distributed and if they were not distributed then Mnangagwa should be blamed for corruption.
Civil society organisations such as the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust and the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development have expressed concern over lack of accountability and transparency over COVID-19 donations and financial allocations after several reports of corruption.
Former Health minister Obadiah Moyo is in court over a US$60 million COVID-19 tender scam involving Drax Consult SAGL.
“Some donations come in the form of pledges and unfortunately some unscrupulous donors declare donations which never came. For example, an organisation declared one million masks to the President which never came and we have reported them to law enforcement agents,” Nkomo said.
But Mhona said Nkomo must explain why a pledge would be treated like a criminal case and the issue taken to law enforcement agents.
Nkomo continued: “This organisation called King David Global Foundation made this donation in public and the reason why we are pursuing it is because on the day in question when they declared the pledge to Mnangagwa, they lied to him saying that their vehicle had developed a technical fault and was holed up at Featherstone.
“I had also alerted NatPharm that when the items arrive, they must be kept at a secure place. So, we thought Featherstone was close and that by the end of the day the donations will arrive. Two weeks later they still have not arrived. We made the report to find out if this organisation did not abuse government facilities in terms of a letter of waiver and a duty-free certificate.”
Nkomo claimed that all donations were properly accounted for and published in the State media, which included donations in cash, kind and in terms of services such as refurbishment of hospitals.
He also said auditing of COVID-19 disbursements was being done instantly instead of it being a post-audit function.
The Department of Civil Protection boss said most donations were received at State House and then taken for storage with medical donations kept at NatPharm, grain at Grain Marketing Board and finances kept by Treasury.
For Cyclone Idai donations, MPs were unimpressed that to date some villagers were still living in tents with pledged houses yet to be constructed.
Nkomo said Econet Wireless had indicated that it would build 500 houses, but they lost interst and pulled out after government failed to do a geo-survey on time.
“The United Nations Development Programme and China were supposed to build 220 houses, but they have not come back to us because of COVID-19,” Nkomo said.