Fraud Squad to probe parastatals

Shakeman Mugari

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts plans to seek the intervention of the Fraud Squad in a bid to clean up debt-ridden parastatals.



erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The committee will soon begin wide-ranging investigations into the operations and management of the parastatals in an effort to rid them of corruption and lack of accountability.


Targeted parastatals include the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).


The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) will also come under scrutiny.


In an interview last week chairperson of the committee Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga told businessdigest that they would soon summon chief executives, director generals and managing directors to give an account of their company operations.


Of concern to the committee is the failure by the state companies to produce annual reports and externally audited accounts.


“We will summon the heads of these parastatals to answer some crucial questions. We want to know why they are dragging their feet in producing annual reports,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.


“Once we find out any anomalies we will immediately recommend that the Fraud Squad moves in. We have the powers to recommend that an investigation be carried out by the police.” The committee will also investigate the hurried unbundling process by some parastatals under the guise of commercialisation.


She said the committee was concerned with the manner in which Zesa and ZBC were unbundled without audited accounts and up-to-date annual reports.


“We also want to know what they were unbundling if there was no proper valuation of the operations. What were they unbundling if they did not have annual reports? What is the value of the assets they were unbundling? We want to know,” she said.


She said the committee viewed the rushed unbundling of Zesa and ZBC as a clear case of asset-stripping.


Top on the list of executives to be summoned is Zesa’s executive chairman and chief executive Sydney Gata whose position has been shrouded in controversy for some time.


Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: “The case of Zesa is serious. It’s worrying. They are operating without a board of directors.”


She said the situation where Gata was both the chief executive and executive chairman should not be allowed to continue.


“This is unacceptable – Gata is not answerable to anyone. He reports to himself. There is really no accountability,” she said.


The investigations will also seek to establish how the parastatals sourced their foreign currency over the past two years.


It would also centre on the recent massive tariff increases that were instituted by the state companies over the past few months.