BY VENERANDA LANGA
THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) led by Harare East legislator Tendai Biti (MDC Alliance) wants to recommend the firing of the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board and management on allegations of corruption and mismanagement as exposed by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in her 2016 forensic audit.
Biti said this last week when Zinara acting chief executive officer Mathlene Mujokoro and her management team appeared before the PAC to answer issues raised in the audit. The Zinara management professed ignorance of the contents of the audit report, claiming they had not been given the copies.
Mujokoro argued that all the issues brought about by the PAC were of mismanagement that transpired before her tenure began.
“You are taking us for granted as Parliament, and we will recommend that your contracts be terminated,” Biti said.
“We do not believe your claim that you do not have a copy of the forensic report and that you took sufficient measures to ensure that you have the report so that you study it.”
Biti described the issues unveiled in the audit as “massive and shocking revelations”. He pointed out that if Univern, and former Zinara director of administration Precious Murove, who was responsible for signing the contracts, failed to avail themselves for questioning by the committee tomorrow, they will be charged with contempt of Parliament.
“We have directed that Univern be present on Friday as we have a desire to cross-examine them. It seems that individuals at Zinara are doing everything in their power to stop and frustrate this enquiry, but we want to assure you that we are unrelenting and want to get to the bottom of the matter.
“We are going to summon the Zinara board and Transport minister Biggie Matiza in due course. Murove should be part of the witnesses even though he has been removed from Zinara. The clerk of the committee will also issue a warrant in terms of the Parliament Privileges and Immunities Act so that non-appearance of Murove, Univern and Zinara will become contempt of Parliament,” he said.
MPs in the committee felt that Zinara was not serious when being grilled about issues raised in the audit report which include a scam where $71 million was dished out for special projects to contractors who in most cases never carried out the work, and to local authorities that had not even requested for the funds.
Mberengwa East MP Marko Raidza (Zanu PF) described the Zinara board as lacking seriousness and playing games with the committee by retiring a key witness (Murove) at a time when Parliament was investigating graft at the institution. Biti said 90% of the dubious contracts were given to Univern, which included the procurement of snow graders which was awarded without going to tender.