THE Ministry of Justice is yet to pay its $367 000 debt to the Constitution Select Committee of Parliament (Copac) accrued during the Constitution-making process in 2013.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The debt is likely to remain unpaid as the ministry was allocated a paltry $158,1 million against a bid of $235,7 million in the 2019 budget announced by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube two months ago.
A report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, which was recently presented in the National Assembly by Chitungwiza South MP Maxwell Mavhunga, revealed that there was also another $16 million debt owed to the Central Mechanical Engineering Department (CMED) by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS), which falls under the Justice Ministry.
“There is an outstanding debt which was accrued during Copac, the Constitution making process, and the ministry has obtained an assurance that it will be covered by Treasury in the sum of $367 473,69,” Mavhunga said.
“This is basically for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings and a company called Vixstrom, which is owed $117 000 of that amount,” he said.
On the ZPCS $16 million debt to CMED, the Justice Committee report recommended that instead of hiring vehicles, they should consider purchasing their own.
“We noted that ZPCS has arrears of almost $16 million owed to CMED for the hiring of vehicles and other utilities. We recommend that at least Treasury must release about $2 million, which should go towards the purchase of motor vehicles for ZPCS because we noted that it is actually more expensive to hire vehicles than to purchase their own. One can imagine how many vehicles could have been bought with that amount of $16 million,” the Justice committee said.
MPs also urged Treasury to support ZPCS farms so that they could be productive and used to full capacity.
“Can you at least allow them to have access to government agricultural support programmes such as command agriculture and the presidential input support scheme so that they will be able to benefit from those to capacitate their farms. Indications were that the farms are very productive, but they do not have the necessary equipment so that the farms can be put to maximum use,” the committee said.