BY BEAUTY NYUKE/TATENDA SQUARE
The call came after the arrest of director of epidemiology and disease control in the Health ministry, Portia Manangazira, on criminal of abuse office charges after she allegedly recruited 28 family members, including her father to work as community health workers. THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) yesterday urged government officials to ensure accountability and transparency in the disbursement of COVID-19 resources following several reports of abuse.
She was also alleged to have authorised the procurement of goods worth US$280 529 without following due process.
Former Health minister Obadiah Moyo was fired last year on graft allegations involving supply of COVID-19 drugs and personal protective equipment.
“The magnitude of corruption and mismanagement of public resources extends beyond one public officials. It has become a systemic issue requiring the wholesale reform of the way government conducts business. Stronger safeguards, monitoring and regulation against corruption are urgently needed,”Zimcodd said in a statement.
“Zimcodd continues to call for transparency in the management of COVID-19 resources to allay fears and negative public perceptions on the use of the public funds earmarked to fight the pandemic.
“The lack of fiscal transparency and public accountability on COVID-19 resources results in a myriad of challenges ranging from flouting of procurement procedures, mismanagement of funds, deepening public mistrust in the government as there is lack of a public feedback mechanism,” they said.
Zimcodd said the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) as the “metagovernance” institution should demonstrate political will to eradicate corruption by capacitating the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to undertake its constitutional mandate without fear or favour.
“The ‘catch and release phenomena’ through which high-profile figures have been let off without prosecution must cease. Prosecution of high-profile figures is necessary to set precedence and deter future corrupt behaviour including petty corruption by citizens.”
Zimcodd also demanded access to information regarding public spending goals, targets, and expenditure on public resources, which must be regularly updated through a public database of tenders, private contracts and payments, and publication of monthly COVID-19 resource usage.
“A smart-public procurement which utilises e-governance to deter underhand dealings must also be adopted.”