via SalaryGate looters face jail: Mugabe – Nehanda Radio Feb 21, 2014
President Robert Mugabe has used his 90th birthday interview to warn those involved in the “SalaryGate” scandal that they will be jailed for criminal abuse of office and corruption.
Mugabe’s own spokesman George Charamba raked in over $100 000 last year from the scandal-ridden Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) despite claiming he was the least paid person on the board.
Charamba who doubles up as presidential spokesman and Permanent Secretary in the Information Ministry was a key board member, including serving on the finance and budget committee that approved PSMAS CEO Cuthbert Dube’s obscene US$500 000 in monthly salaries, benefits and allowances.
It was also under his watch as Permanent Secretary in the Information Ministry that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) paid the now suspended CEO Happison Muchechetere a whooping $40 000 a month even though workers at the debt-ridden broadcaster went for months without being paid.
Speaking on the scandal Mugabe said heads of Government departments and executives in State-linked enterprises should be people of high moral character. He blamed Government ministers for failing to properly supervise entities falling under their briefs, resulting in executives earning mega-salaries.
“What does VaCuthbert Dube tell us, (he says) ko chitadzo chandakaita ndechipi?” said President Mugabe. “Punishment of those who are proved to have been corrupt, to have been stealing — we lock them up. Vambononzwawo jeri kuti rinorwadza sei.”
President Mugabe said line ministers did little to help the situation because they were yes-men and out of touch with realities on the ground.
“Line ministry or the minister was a yes minister – standoffish,” he said. “Minister haiwa tinokuitirai basa, do not mind. The permanent secretary stands in between.
“The minister and the rest of the department yeGovernment, the minister and the boards you got to have the permanent secretary, then the chairman of the board who comes to report hee, yaa zvinhu zviri kufamba zvakanaka and so on and you rely on that.
“The board itself does not carry out examinations, inspection of what is being done by the parastatal if it is a parastatal and the minister is far removed when it comes to parastatals and that is where most of the corruption occurred. And you can see that these are institutions which were far removed from direct control by the Government – creations of the British we inherited.”
President Mugabe said parastatal bosses exploited poor supervision to loot.
“If there are losses they rely on Government to come with subventions and reports, yes, there will be reports from parastatals, the system we had inherited from Britain – annual reports, but loss after loss. Why? If there is profit – minimal.
“What is happening? Because there was no close supervision, morons took advantage of the system and wanted to benefit themselves and enrich themselves.”
Corruption, President Mugabe said, was rampant and had even permeated social institutions such as churches.
“So, there it is. It is corruption everywhere even kumachurch kwese,” he said. “Ndange ndichiverenga chimwe chipepa change chichiti kuUnited States, is it kuuniversity, kwanzi people can attend, is it the church, in nudity, being nude, naked?
“Just imagine what it means. Zvinorevei izvozvo? Hamuna mabhurukwa zvese. Munonamata Mwari upi, haiwaiwa? And if you just take pictures moenda nawo you are not hiding anything, you are showing everything.”
Mugabe, however, expressed confidence in his new Cabinet and said he wanted the Zanu-PF Government to deliver and ensure that civil servants got decent salaries.
“You know, let us think about their situations also. A person gets US$200, US$250, USS$300 or so, taxes, a portion goes and ndiyo yokunge yaidyiwawo nanaCuthbert Dube ikokowo kuPSMAS and he has got marates and rents to pay, transport to pay even though maybe a little given by way of those charges and mafees kuchikoro, medical fees when people get sick, food.
“Ndaimbobvunza (Tendai) Biti kuti nhaiwe Biti do you think we can really make a living nemasalaries aya zvichinzi aah ndinomboenda kumasupermarkets neUS$100 ndinodzoka nechange? NdiBiti uyu. Hanzi ndinenge ndazadza kutenga zvemumba.
“Aenda neUS$100 and (Elton) Mangoma was there to say yes yes, but that is nonsensical. Even the President wants to be paid well now so let us pay our people the salaries they deserve.
“I am glad they have gone some three-quarters way in meeting the poverty datum line requirement and I hope by June they will have come there, but that is alright and our workers are understanding.”
Although he pointed out that it was not necessary to have demonstrations and strikes, President Mugabe said it would be illogical and irresponsible for Government to use the police to stop civil servants from going into the streets demanding salary increments.
“We do not also want unnecessary demonstrations and strikes,” he said. “When they are well based with grievances that genuine, well, do we have to say totuma mapurisa to quell them when they have genuine grievances? You cannot do that.
“Ya, this might affect adversely our capacity to undertake maobjectives eZim-Asset, but we will be trying to derive capacity from our mining sector and other areas which can yield some monetary capacity for us.”