GOVERNMENT has splashed nearly $400 billion on luxury vehicles for members of the Anti-Corruption Commission chaired by former Comptroller and Auditor-
General Eric Harid.
Sources said the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government bought nine Mercedes Benz vehicles for the commissioners at a cost of $44 billion each.
The purchase follows reports that the government is spending more than $500 billion providing loans for senators to purchase all-terrain vehicles. The Anti-Corruption Commission is currently without a secretariat. Nor does it have a departmental head.
In an interview this week, Harid referred all questions to the Minister of State Enterprises, Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies, Paul Mangwana.
Mangwana defended the move to acquire vehicles for the commissioners who include lawyers Johannes Tomana and Kuziwa Nyamwanza, retired brigadier Elasto Madzingira, Alice Nkomo and Rungano Wutaunashe.
“Do you want them to walk on foot? Are you sure they should be pedestrians?” Mangwana asked.
“They must drive. Their position is equivalent to judges. They are a constitutional commission,” Mangwana said.
He said the commission was doing a great job, recently initiating a public education programme and performing a system audit at the Grain Marketing Board.
“They came up with certain findings at the grain utility and government is studying them,” Mangwana said.
He said the commissioners had interviewed people for various posts who should have started last week.
“They even recruited heads of department. Government had been seconding a secretariat from other ministries.”
In 2004 and 2005 government launched a crusade against corruption in high places, viewed by many people as an election gimmick that has since lost steam.
Senior politicians and high-ranking business executives who include former Finance minister Chris Kuruneri and one-time Zanu PF Harare aspiring mayoral candidate and Telecel boss, James Makamba, were arrested on charges of externalising foreign currency.
Both Makamba and Kuruneri’s cases still remain unconcluded.
Kuruneri is currently under house arrest while Makamba has fled the country.