ED’s govt corrupt: MPs

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Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) from across the political divide yesterday said President Emmerson Mnangagwa was presiding over a corrupt government.

This came as Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa demanded to know where all the foreign currency being generated in the country was going.

While the MPs, including from the ruling Zanu PF party based their disquiet on Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri’s annual audit reports Mutsvangwa pointed to serious corruption in government saying foreign currency was mysteriously disappearing from the national purse.

“We’ve doubled our export earnings in US dollars, yet our currency is weak, where has that ever happened? To fill up a house with kids, but you can’t account for any of them…,” fumed Mutsvangwa during a Zanu PF Press conference in the capital.

“It’s a financial and economic anomaly that we are earning US dollars, yet we can’t find them in our purse. The more you put money in your purse, the more your purse gets empty of US dollars, something is wrong!”

Chairperson of the African Parliamentarians Against Corruption Zimbabwe chapter, Temba Mliswa said Mnangagwa must be summoned before Parliament over the corruption allegations involving ministers and other top government officials.

“Parliament has power, and going through these reports you then ask why we pass the budget because there is bad governance and lack of implementation of recommendations by the AG. Basically, the President is presiding over a corrupt government,” Mliswa said.

He was contributing to a discussion held in the capital on the 2020 AG (Auditor-General) reports facilitated by the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust.

The 2020 AG reports exposed gross corruption and misuse of more than US$3 billion by ministries.

“The AG’s office is critical in interrogating and pointing out misuse of funds, and I think the only way forward is to invite the President to appear before Parliament to come and respond to why the government has not implemented the AG’s recommendations,” Mliswa added.

However, the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act empowers committees to summon any person in the country to appear before Parliament except the sitting President.

In 2018, Mliswa, then chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines attempted to summon the late former President Robert Mugabe to give oral evidence on the missing US$15 billion diamond revenues.

Mugabe did not turn up.

In his contributions, chairperson of the Budget and Finance committee Mathew Nyashanu (Zanu PF) said it had become a tradition that ministries were ignoring the AG’s recommendations.

“Around 42% of the issues raised in the AG’s reports are related to governance issues.  It means that there is total neglect of what they should be doing,” Nyashanu said.

Public Accounts Committee chairperson Brian Dube (MDC Alliance) said: “The level of contamination of our finances is high. What is also seriously disappointing is the advance payments and non-deliveries of purchased items.  Parliament must push for prosecution, repayments and restitution of all misappropriated funds.”

Meanwhile, legislators yesterday demanded that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube must issue a ministerial statement explaining the rise in prices of basic goods and services, as well as foreign currency distortions.

Glen View North MP Fani Munengami (Citizens Coalition for Change) raised a point of order with the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda demanding that Ncube must explain why the local currency has drastically lost value to the greenback.

“Today as we speak our money has lost value the back market rate, which is now at 500 against the United States dollar. This shows that the cost of living in the country has risen and nothing is affordable.  If the situation remains like this the rate will soon reach $1000 to the dollar,” Munengami said.

Ncube promised to issue the ministerial statement next Tuesday.

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