The auditor general has once again laid bare the rot in many state-owned companies and parastatals with a number of them guilty of paying for goods that were never delivered.
According to the latest State-owned Enterprises and Parastatals report for the year ended December 31, 2022 released last week, acting auditor general Rheah Kujinga said there was an increase in the number of cases where there was non-delivery of goods paid for by the entities.
Kujinga’s audit identified 20 cases where money was spent on non-existent things such as cars.
One of the cases was that of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, which lost US$1,6 million after it paid for 35 Toyota Hilux double cab vehicles and 50 Toyota Corolla cars in February last year.
The supplier only delivered Toyota Hilux vehicles and none of the Toyota Corolla cars.
In another case, in 2021 the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board made advance payments of US$50 500 and $1.7 million for a bus and computers respectively, but at the time of the audit a year later, the suppliers had not delivered a single thing.
As if that was not enough, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is feared to have lost money after it paid US$345 918 for 10 cars but had received only five at the time of the audit.
Zacc also failed to provide supporting documents to validate expenditure amounting to $353 472. The commission could not produce invoices or supplier statements to prove that the money was used for its intended purposes.
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While the reports are extremely disturbing, they are not new as the auditor general produces evidence of corruption and misappropriation of funds at state-owned entities every year.
One of the reasons for the corruption to continue festering is the fact that there are never consequences for those found to be on the wrong side of the law.
The looters are protected mostly because of their political connections.
It is quite alarming that Zacc, whose responsibility is to fight the scourge of corruption in the country, is counted among those found to be at the forefront of theft of public funds.
Until the government turns its rhetoric about fighting corruption into action, nothing will change.
Long-suffering Zimbabweans deserve institutions that operate transparently and use resources allocated to them with utmost care and integrity.
It must never be business as usual for the government after such damning revelations and heads must roll without fear or favour.