via ‘ Ministers took bribes ’ – Southern Eye by Nduduzo Tshuma 29 January 2014
A FORMER Cabinet minister has accused Zanu PF ministers of nurturing the rot in the country’s parastatals resulting in executives bleeding the entities dry by paying themselves outrageous salaries while general workers went for months without pay.
Former State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo told Southern Eye yesterday that parent ministers of parastatals were beneficiaries of the rot in all the non-performing State-owned entities.
Moyo’s revelations came amid outrage over salaries earned by the recently fired Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) chief executive officer Cuthbert Dube and suspended Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer (CEO) Happison Muchechetere as well as an insurance scandal involving an estimated $10 million at Air Zimbabwe. Dube earned a basic salary of $230 000 per month while Muchechetere got $40 000 per month.
While the obscene salaries have caused general outrage and shock among most Zimbabweans, especially civil servants, most of whom earn less than $500 per month, Moyo said he had tried to streamline executive pay at government entities during the life of the coalition government, but found no support from the Zanu PF side of the inclusive government.
“I spent the entire life of the inclusive government dealing with those issues,” he said.
“First the biggest problem is that the ministers are culprits.
“Ministers were bribed by CEOs who bought cars for them and gave them fuel, phones, airtime and housing allowances,”Moyo said.
“A minister would get a Mercedes-Benz from the government and another vehicle, be it a Benz or a four-wheel drive from a parastatal under his ministry.
“It then became a problem to rein in the CEOs.”
Moyo, who is also the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial chairperson, said his ministry took the salaries issue to Cabinet where it was agreed that the outrageous earnings be cut to an average of between $3 000 and $5 000 depending on the performance of the parastatal.
“At the time, a lot of them were getting $15 000 per month, which was not sustainable,” he said.
“Zanu PF ministers did not implement the directive mostly because of the nature of their relationship with the CEOs.”
He said the rot extended to board members who also got outrageous fees.
“Board fees were pegged at about $2 000 per month just for being a board member,” he said.
“Sitting allowances would be pegged between $500 and $800 and board members would sit regularly so that they make a lot of money.
“There is a web of corruption that has become a culture.”
He said a corporate government framework was passed as a policy, but was never implemented because most ministers were not keen.
“Ours was not an implementing ministry, but a policy-making one,” Moyo said.
“Zanu PF and its ministers did not implement the policies because they were beneficiaries of this corruption.”
Zimbabwe has recently witnessed soaring pay inequality, with top bosses now taking home more in a few days than most workers can ever dream of earning in a year.
Besides Dube and Muchechetere, council bosses are also reportedly paying themselves over-the-top salaries at a time service delivery is at its worst ever in the history of the country. Most residents are going without water for days, garbage goes uncollected for months and city roads are littered with potholes yet local authority executives continue to reward themselves for incompetence.