SPEAKER of Parliament Jacob Mudenda on Tuesday ordered the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts (PAC) to summon Auditor-General Mildred Chiri for a grilling over missing accounts of key six ministries after a complaint was made by veteran legislator Tendai Biti (pictured).
Mudenda gave the PAC two weeks to summon Chiri.
However, in an interview with The NewsHawks, PAC chairperson and Gweru Urban MP
Brian Dube said the AG will appear before the committee this coming Monday.
Rising in the House on a point of national importance, Biti said there were possibilities of corruption having occurred in the six ministries as Chiri did not present to MPs how they used public funds in the year 2021.
Last week, Chiri sent through audit statements of government ministries to the MPs through emails but left out the summary of expenditures for such ministries as Finance and Economic Development (vote 8); Lands,
Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement (vote 14); Health and Child Care (vote 16); Higher and Tertiary Education (vote 17); Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (vote 18), and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage (vote 26). She also left out reports on how the Public Service Commission used funds in the year 2021.
Biti said he was very concerned about the omissions.
“If you go to the accounts we received Mr Speaker Sir, you will see that there is no appropriation account that is commended on by the Auditor in respect of about six key ministries… The appropriation accounts are the accounts that tell us how much was spent and received.”
“Overally Mr Speaker Sir, the audit report does not have an overall appropriation of how much was used in 2021. I ask, Mr Speaker sir, that you direct the Minister of Finance to come and give an explanation as to why there are no appropriation accounts for those particular votes and why there is no overall appropriation account audit.”
“I also ask, Mr Speaker sir, that the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee be directed to summon the Auditor-General so that she can explain before the Committee why the 2021 audit report which has been put in our emails does not meet those standards? This is so important given the high levels of corruption in our country at the present moment,” said Biti.
Mudenda took the matter seriously and ordered: “I would rather go by your last recommendation, that is, the Public Accounts Committee must summon the Auditor-General to find out why those Votes have not been accounted for . . . That should be done within two weeks.”
PAC chairperson MP Dube confirmed to The NewsHawks that his committee will grill Chiri, but said he could not pre-empt how they will do so.
“I do not want to pre-empt issues. All I can tell you is that the AG will appear before PAC on Monday,” he said.
Some of the ministries which Chiri did not present audit statements for have a record of corruption.
The Health ministry in 2020 led by Obadiah Moyo contracted controversial businessman Dellish Nguwaya to procure Covid-19 equipment worth US$60 million in a deal that turned out to be opaque, leading to the minister’s arrest and subsequent dismissal from government.
In the year 2021, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission arrested two government officials from the Lands ministry after they pocketed US$3 million from the sale of 60 residential stands in Sally Mugabe Heights suburb.
Pazvakavambwa was the deputy director of valuation and estate management under the ministry of Lands Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
At the material time she was the chief valuations officer in the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development and responsible for proper administration and validation of deeds of grants and transfer of deeds.
Chimba was the former deputy director of valuation and estate management in the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development and also worked at the Evaluations Estates department as the registrar of evaluation.
The Finance ministry’s spending has also been under the spotlight after it emerged in June this year that it overspent by over ZW$107 billion in 2019 and 2020.
This came out after minister Mthuli Ncube approached Parliament proposing a Financial Adjustments Bill, which sought condonation for government expenditure of ZW$100.7 billion spent in 2020 and ZW$6.8 billion for 2019.