MANY very interesting things are unravelling from the latest Auditor-General reports on how ministries and government departments have been utilising monies allocated to them by Treasury.
One of the eye-popping revelations in the reports is that the graft buster, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) was caught with its hands in the cookie jar after failing to explain how it used some of the money it was allocated.
According to former Auditor-General Mildred Chiri, between 2019 and 2020 Zacc did not provide invoices to validate expenditure amounting to ZWL$353 472 or US$21 078 at the interbank rate. The anti-graft body was found wanting in the manner it managed its fuel allocations, while it also bought 10 vehicles, but only five were delivered and it appears no follow-up on the outstanding of five cars was ever made by Zacc.
Chiri specifically said: “There were no invoices and or supplier statements to support the expenditure. In addition, the commission did not avail creditor’s reconciliations for the 2019 financial period.
“The commission was not maintaining its fuel register properly. There were instances where(by) the fuel register had incomplete details on running balances and recipient signatures. In addition, fuel receipts with a total of 43 420 litres were not recorded in the fuel register. This was contrary to the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] section 49.”
On the vehicles she said: “The commission paid ZWL$5,7 million (US$345 918) for the acquisition of 10 motor vehicles. However, only five vehicles had been delivered as at December 31, 2020. There was no evidence to support that the remaining five vehicles were subsequently delivered by the time of my audit.”
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This is more than damning for an organisation mandated to fight such misdemeanours. This is abominable and pathetic, to say the least, for Zacc to be found on the wrong side of the law.
What has been unearthed at Zacc is just the tip of a massive iceberg of misappropriation of taxpayers’ money, and it makes many of us wonder if at all this anti-corruption body is fit to carry out its mandate when it cannot even account for its own monies and conduct.
How can we trust this organisation to do anything about the endemic corruption in this country when it cannot be trusted? Little wonder corruption has flourished in Zimbabwe.
What is most painful about these audit revelations is that nothing happens after all these murky dealings are exposed. Year after year we are served with jaw-dropping information on misuse and downright theft of taxpayers’ money, but after that it is business as usual; no wonder those tasked to fight corruption are now thrusting their hands into the cookie jar.
Ideally, when such anomalies are unearthed heads must roll and an effort must be made to plug all loopholes because, honestly, for instance, how can an anti-graft institution worth its salt pay in full for 10 cars and only receive half the order and never bothers to raise hell over the balance.
A major paradigm shift is definitely long overdue regarding action after the Auditor-General’s office releases its findings, otherwise it is increasingly becoming a sheer waste of time and resources to carry out audits whose outcomes change nothing.