Source: Govt official blows $200 000 on cellphone – Sunday News September 4, 2016
CIVIL Service Commission chairperson Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah racked up a cellphone bill of US$200 000 while on a month-long foreign trip, it has emerged.
Documents seen by our Harare Bureau last week show the figure accumulated from calls and data use on his NetOne and Econet contract lines whose bills are met by Treasury. Dr Nzuwah declined discussing the matter when this paper caught up with him.
“What has that got to do with The Sunday Mail? I don’t want to comment because that is a Government account and I am not an accounting officer . . . Why (then) do you want to base the story on rumours?”
Dr Nzuwah insisted the account in question belonged to the Government. The NetOne bill for July 2016 shows that Dr Nzuwah had a balance of US$8 116,14, and the bill ballooned to US$161 002,36 due to calls and data use worth US$149 617,12.
Out of the US$149 617,12, the exact airtime usage for July stood at US$123 871,38 while exercise duty and Value Added Tax accounted for US$25 708,85.
In addition, as of 14 August 2016, Dr Nzuwah’s NetOne mobile number had already accumulated a staggering US$48 431,85, of which US$25 506,83 accounted for tax charges. Of the US$49 617,12 accumulated by the Civil Service Commission, Dr Nzuwah topped the list at US$48 431,85. Our Harare Bureau also gleaned Dr Nzuwah’s Econet contract line (account number 1.00021422) bill that shows the civil servants boss blew US$19 975,01. Of this amount, US$15 452 accumulated through use of roaming data while outgoing roaming calls accounted for US$1 703,50. Roaming incoming calls accounted for a paltry US$19,32.
Details gathered by our Harare Bureau showed that Dr Nzuwah’s bill could have skyrocketed during the time he visited Europe where he reportedly was doing work on foreign missions. The US$200 000 phone bill means that Dr Nzuwah could have been gobbling about US$6 000 worth of airtime per day. This comes as it emerged that Zimbabweans spend over US$500 million on prepaid cellular phone airtime yearly. A Zimbabwe Statistics Agency ICT Household Survey Report for June 2013-June 2014 noted that over US$2 million went towards contract line usage. A bigger economy such as South Africa spends about US$600 million on airtime annually, while Zambia, with 11 million cellphone users, spends about US$430 million.