Ex-Minister Buka abused Youth Fund

Source: Ex-Minister Buka abused Youth Fund | The Herald May 13, 2017

Zvamaida Murwira
Former Minister in the then Vice President Joice Mujuru’s office Cde Flora Buka allegedly used her influence to facilitate youths aligned to herself to access funds under the Youth Fund set up by Government to assist disadvantaged young people.

It has also emerged that in Mount Darwin, former Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s sister, Dadirai, diverted $3 000 that she accessed from CABS under the Youth Fund to finance a hardware business.

This came out during a fact-finding mission by Parliament’s portfolio committee on Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) that is conducting a public hearing.

The legislators were yesterday told that some ward youth officers in Gokwe benefited from the Youth Fund in violation of Government policy forbidding the gainfully employed.

They were supposed to assist applicants and supervise projects for the beneficiaries.

The fact finding mission, which is being supported by Southern African Support Trust led by Mr John Makamure, wants to understand how the fund was utilised in the wake of reports of rampant abuse, resulting in it being suspended.

The legislators also heard that former Zanu-PF deputy secretary for youth and former Politburo member, Cde Edmore Chakanyuka, got $8 000 from the fund ostensibly to construct lodges, but had nothing to show.

Briefing the Members of Parliament, Gokwe North district youth officer, Mr Collet Mguquka, said he discovered that most projects in the area that would be approved under CABS’ $10 million facility were those that would have been submitted by Cde Buka.

“We felt that the former Member of Parliament for this area (Gokwe-Nembudziya) Cde Buka was somehow linked to bank officials,” he said.

“She would take applications from youths herself to submit to banks. Most of those that we would have recommended did not get the money, but those that she would have taken herself benefited. The youths have not repaid the money.”

Mr Mguquka was speaking while responding to a barrage of questions from the legislators.

He said Cde Buka had not been assisting in following up on loans obtained by the youths some of whom were known touts.

Chitungwiza North MP Mr Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T), had asked to what extent was Cde Buka assisting in following up on youths who had defaulted.

The legislators rapped the ministry on why serving youth officers had been allowed to benefit.

“Do you have a letter from the ministry’s accounting officer who is the Permanent Secretary authorising those youths to apply since the standing policy did not allow them to do so,” asked Cde Wadyajena.

Later, the committee conducted a public hearing where some youths alleged that they were being sued for defaulting when they had not benefited from the fund.

On Minister Kasukuwere’ sister, district youth officer for Mount Darwin in the ministry, Mrs Maureen Chafurama, told the legislators during their tour of Mt Darwin on Thursday that Dadirai accessed funds, but did not use it for the purpose which she indicated.

Mrs Chafurama said Dadirai’s application had not gone through the district office, an assertion that was confirmed by the ministry’s provincial head Mr Byl Manyange, who said neither had they seen her application at the province.

“She said she had diverted the funds when we went there trying to supervise the project,” said Mrs Chafurama.

“We also told her to attend today’s meeting with the committee, but she refused saying she was attending a funeral.”

The committee was told that Dadirai was one of those who got highest figures in the district. The file page containing information in respect of Dadirai allegedly disappeared after the committee requested for it.

Earlier on, Mount Darwin Youth officer, Ms Lilian Matare, had requested time to go and retrieve it only to return holding a file containing information about the other beneficiaries.

She said the page in respect of Dadirai had been removed, but could not tell who was behind its disappearance.