via Corruption: Ministers face arrest – DailyNews Live by Roadwin Chirara 17 FEBRUARY 2014
The on-going government probe into corrupt activities in State enterprises could claim the scalp of some high ranking ministers as new looting details emerge.
This comes as the Daily News on Sunday has established that inquiries into parastatals’ operations had been widened to include current and former ministers, whose footprints were prominently visible in shady deals that are currently subject to investigations.
Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is said to lead a faction angling to replace President Robert Mugabe, has already fired warning shots, after declaring in Parliament last week that all individuals implicated in the scandals would be brought to book.
The Zanu PF politburo held on Friday also said those caught with their hands in the till will be arrested.
Sources said ministers benefitted especially in procurement where they either received kickbacks or connived with CEOs to inflate invoices.
Investigations, which are centred on the goings-on at Air Zimbabwe, Zinara, CMED, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), ZBC and Marange Resources among other State enterprises, have seen company executives
being fingered in the fleecing of their organisations through hefty salaries and improper procurement procedures.
It has emerged that ministers that presided over these entities will be probed, amid reports they face allegations of dereliction of duty and criminal abuse of office, according to top government
Some of the ministers personally benefited from the sweetheart perks that were extended to top management at the parastatals.
At the public broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), top managers were splashing $800 000 in salaries per month, while the organisation faced various operational challenges.
ZBC chief executive, Happison Muchechetere was found to have been drawing a monthly salary of $40 000 per month while workers went for more than six months without pay, bringing his total earning to date since 2009 at $2,28 million.
His salary included $3 000 as entertainment allowance, a $2 500 allowance to pay his domestic workers, $3 500 for housing allowance and $3 000 as a general allowance.
Executives at struggling national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, have already been arraigned before the courts after being arrested on fraud charges relating to procurement, maintenance of aircraft and insurance which could have prejudiced it of $1 298 827, 88 and 5 895 695, 90 euros.
Chief executive Innocent Mavhunga, Celebration Church and former airline chief executive Peter Chikumba and company secretary Grace Nyaradzo Pfumbidzayi have been remanded in custody, pending their bail application on Monday.
The rot at Air Zimbabwe has also sucked in Navistar Insurance Brokers and national road agency, Zinara which made questionable payments on the airline’s behalf according to a forensic audit report.
Zinara chief executive, Frank Chitukutuku is currently subject to a Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission investigation over the controversial awarding of a $2 million road rehabilitation tender in Umguza, Matabeleland North province.
The works were awarded to Notify Enterprises, a shelf company owned by Twaumba Holdings owner Nkululeko Sibanda.
According to the Zacc, the tenders were advertised after the contract had already been corruptly awarded to Notify without going to tender.
Medical services provider, Premier Service Medical Aid Society, which services most civil servants, is currently rocked by a crisis after it emerged its top management were gobbling at least $1 million in basic monthly salaries at a time it was reeling under a $38 million debt.
The situation resulted in Psmas chief executive Cuthbert Dube being relieved of his duties following an outrage over his $230 000 monthly salary.
Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco ) has also had to part ways with its chief executive, Brian Chawasarira after he had been suspended from work pending an investigation into allegations of mismanagement.
Zupco has been struggling to pay its workers, including retrenchment packages for 300 employees it shed in 2011 and has debts to various suppliers including Pioneer Motor Company, which in May attached a Highlands property seeking to recover over $763 000 owed.
The State-owned bus company owes more than $1,7 million in salary arrears and continues to face viability challenges despite having acquired 304 buses over the past three years.
The Rural Electrification Agency, a unit of Zesa Holdings, has also been engulfed in a scandal where its board members and senior management extended themselves loans amounting to $4 million.
Of the funds, $2,5 million was extended to influential persons while nearly $1,5 million was shared among board members, managers and other staff, which they used to build houses at a time the company was failing to carry out its mandate of electrifying rural areas.
However, Vice President Joice Mujuru’s castigation of the media’s role in the exposure of the corrupt activities by government officials, has put a dent on the sincerity of the Zanu PF government to dealing with the cancerous problem.