Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) board chairman Engineer Michael Madanha has declared zero tolerance on corruption, saying adequate measures have been put in place to plug financial leakages.
The new board’s measures will also end abuse of transit coupons by some Zinara employees at tollgates.
In 2011, Zinara diverted from its core business, adding an extra role of implementing road projects, leading to revenue leakages to the tune of US$71 million as revealed by an audit report by Grant Thornton.
Most of the road projects implemented by Zinara were not tendered for, while others were incomplete.
Speaking during Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza’s tour of Mt Darwin-Mukumbura Road last week, Eng Madanha said his board had since stopped implementing road projects in line with a recent ministerial directive.
Zinara, he said, now sticks to its core mandate as enshrined in the Road Act.
“We stamped our authority and made it clearly understood that Zinara does not implement road projects, but only disburses money and monitors evaluation, apart from collecting road user fees,” said Eng Madanha.
Implementation of the ministerial directive, Eng Madanha said, will reduce Zinara’s problems by half.
“By implementing this, we eliminated more than 50 percent of the problems at Zinara,” he said. “Since 2011, Zinara was implementing road construction projects which itself was an extra function.
“What is now happening is that Zinara will tender the works, do bid evaluation, they will appoint contractors and assign contractors and they will deploy them to the provinces to work with local authorities and do the auditing and monitoring and evaluation.
“At the end of the day they will do the measurement of the work done and make the payment.”
Eng Madanha said Zinara had improved in transparency, a development that will end abuse of transit coupons.
“No one can let any car, which is not on exemption, to pass, besides the director of that line revenue stream,” he said. “We had also leakages of transit fees. When vehicles in transit to another country use our roads, they are issued with transit coupons that allow them to use our roads for two weeks, including toll fees.
“After two or three days from issuance, some officials would manipulate the system and cancel the coupons before pocketing the money. That is why I do not want Univern (a technology firm) to be disturbed because Univern are our key witnesses in this investigation.
“Their system picks up everything that is happening anywhere. If you are given a transit coupon they can track you. We have now said no one at the border can cancel a transit coupon, but only the director and Univern will give us information pertaining to that.”
Eng Madanha said the money which was distributed by Zinara to local authorities was specifically for road maintenance and that they were going to send a team to monitor compliance.
He said the new board had an open door policy and that local authorities should feel free to visit their offices for any clarification.
In January, Minister Matiza appointed a new board for Zinara chaired by Eng Madanha.
The new board was appointed following the dissolution of the Mr Wilfred Ramwi-led board last year, which was accused of covering up corruption at the parastatal.
The primary task of the board, according to Minister Matiza, is to ensure that the management of Zinara is properly structured.