Source: President rejects ‘dirty donations’ – Sunday News Nov 6, 2016
PRESIDENT Mugabe will not allow dirty money to fund Zanu-PF activities and structures, and has ordered that any ill-gotten resources that found their way into the ruling party’s coffers must be returned.
The party is investigating claims by Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo that he diverted money from the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund to Zanu-PF. A Politburo committee comprising Cdes Jacob Mudenda, Sithembiso Nyoni, Sydney Sekeramayi and Kembo Mohadi is looking into the claims, and President Mugabe has made it clear that Zanu-PF should mobilise resources for its programmes and structures via legitimate means.
Incidentally, the ruling party proved its capacity to do just that on Friday when a fundraising dinner, at which First Lady and Zanu-PF Secretary for Women’s Affairs Amai Mugabe was the guest of honour, secured US$4,2 million in cash and pledges for the December 2016 Annual National People’s Conference.
The party had set itself a target of US$3,5 million for the event and easily surpassed it on the night, calling into question the need for Zanu-PF to allegedly have to divert public money to fund its causes. Asked to clarify the President’s position on officials claiming to be financing the party with public money, Presidential Press Secretary Mr George Charamba said his principal was clear on that he would not tolerate such activities — if indeed they were true.
He also dismissed opposition and private media claims that in establishing the Politburo committee to investigate Prof Moyo, the President was undermining the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, which just last week tried to haul the minister before the courts on a raft of charges related to abuse of Zimdef funds.
Mr Charamba said, “The President is a lawyer and, coincidentally, he covered quite some material on the law of trusts. He is very clear that a key aspect in administration of trusts is that decisions of trustees must further the objects of the trust.
Anything that takes away from the objects of the trust will certainly not pass the test. If it so happens that there is some money that found its way into structures and processes of the party, that money got there irregularly, and for that reason it must be repatriated to its lawful purse. President Mugabe is clear on that Zanu-PF doesn’t fund its processes through irregular or ill-gotten resources. But the facts have to be established first, hence the Politburo committee.”
Prof Moyo, as Higher and Tertiary Education Minister, is the sole trustee of Zimdef. He has been accused of abusing his office to siphon hundreds of thousands of US dollars from Zimdef and anti-corruption authorities last week formally charged him on the allegations. Zimdef was established in terms of Section 23 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act 36 of 1984, now revised Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02) of 1996, to finance development of critical and highly skilled manpower through a one percent Training Levy paid by companies registered in Zimbabwe.
The Higher Education Minister is the trustee and is supposed to execute his duties in furtherance of these objectives. Our sister paper, The Herald, has reported that Zimdef presently plans to retrench 60 of its 200 workers due to “lack of financial resources”.
Zimdef reportedly collects about US$3,6 million per month and its wage bill is less than US$200 000. About 70 percent of Zimdef revenue is supposed to be reserved for the fund’s main mandate, while 20 percent goes to administration and 10 percent to capital projects.
The fund pays wages to apprentices; tuition, accommodation and food for apprentices at tertiary institutions; and purchase of training equipment, training consumables and library books. It also has provision for development of infrastructure like libraries and workshops.
Mr Charamba said, “As a teacher, the President is very conscious of the importance of skills development and would never countenance a situation where anything untoward happens to a fund intended for the purpose of skills development. While State institutions conduct their probe into Prof Moyo, a Zanu-PF committee has also been appointed to look into allegations raised by the minister against those who accuse him of looting Zimdef.”
Mr Charamba said President Mugabe did not authorise establishment of the committee so that it would interfere with Zacc and other relevant institutions.
“The committee set up by Zanu-PF is not meant to forestall legal processes. Its formation arose in circumstances in which a presentation was made at the Politburo, which made claims against the ethos of the party and inter-personal relations in the party. In the interests of maintaining harmony within the party and to ensure all issues are attended to, the leadership saw it wise to create a committee to establish the veracity or otherwise of claims against processes and members. One claim was that part of the money in question found its way into funding party structures and processes. When that was said, there were counter-claims which left the Politburo with the impression that it was a grey area needing investigation.
“When talking to the President, he is very clear that this is an internal committee process meant to yield facts on whose basis Zanu-PF as a party will deal with the issues. The consumption of whatever findings will be made will strictly be internal to Zanu-PF; and there is absolutely no connection between what Zanu-PF is doing in-house and for its own purposes, and what should happen with legal processes.”
Insiders last week told our Harare Bureau that the committee had gathered most of the information it had requested from concerned parties and would soon deliberate on the matter.
Cde Mudenda, the committee chair and Speaker of the House of Assembly, could not be reached for comment yesterday as he was attending to Sadc Parliamentary Forum business.
Meanwhile, Zanu-PF Secretary for Finance Dr Obert Mpofu said US$4,2 million was raised at Friday’s fund raiser, indicating the party’s capacity to attract legitimate financing.
“Everything went beyond our expectations and we raised US$4,2 which is much higher than the target of US$3,5 million we had set. We are very proud because I think this is a record amount of money to be raised by the party at a single event. We have US$3,5 million now and the remainder has been made through pledges which we expect to be honoured, so the dinner has been an overwhelming success.”
Cde Mpofu said Zanu-PF was close to reaching its US$5 million overall target to fund the party’s annual convention.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo lauded Dr Mpofu for organising the successful event.
“A clear thought process and meticulous planning was applied for this fundraising dinner to be such a successful and joyous occasion. I want you to join me in thanking the chair of the fundraising committee Dr Obert Mpofu in making this event successful and memorable.”