THE Comptroller and Auditor-General has made more shocking revelations that expose gross abuse of state resources, with government vehicles being taken away by top government officials and state assets, fuel coupons and cash being misappropriated.
In her report for the first quarter of 2009 financial year tabled in parliament last week the Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri showed how rampant corruption is in government.
In addition to the cars being possessed by ministers and their deputies and permanent secretaries, the report revealed that state assets such as laptops, computers, fax machines, cell phones and spares of cars were stolen but no police reports were made.
A total of 14 vehicles donated to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare by the Reserve Bank in 2008 were neither recorded in the vehicle register nor the donations registered. Vehicle registration papers were not produced and therefore the report said specification details of the vehicles were not known to the ministry.
“No authority to accept donations was availed for audit. Vehicle registration papers were also not produced. Accordingly, specification details of the said vehicles not known to the ministry thereby rendering their identification impractical in case of a dispute whilst under the care and use of the ministry,” reads the report.
Former Labour minister Nicholas Goche is alleged in the report to have taken a pool vehicle, a Toyota Prado SDF108, without authorisation from the cabinet office authority.
Former transport minister Christopher Mushowe, the report said, took three vehicles, while his deputy Hubert Nyanhongo also took three cars and the former permanent secretary another three vehicles when they left the ministry.
Industry and Commerce former minister Obert Mpofu took possession of two vehicles, while his deputy Pheneas Chihota took one which he was entitled to buy and former permanent secretary took four cars before leaving the ministry. The report said there was no authorisation given.
In Masvingo, out of 12 vehicles sourced from the central bank, the province could only account for one which had been reportedly allocated to a medical doctor who has since absconded.
Former information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and his former deputy Bright Matonga were said to have taken computers, fax machines and two laptops which were donated by the central bank.
Chiri’s report further revealed that funds received from the Ministry of Finance by the Ministry of Public Service meant specifically for rentals were diverted to other use.
“The ministry was granted an amount of US$6 249 from Ministry of Finance specifically for settlement of rentals to Richard Ellis on February 11 2009 yet only US$4 250 was paid reserving the balance of US$1 999 for non-specified urgent matters,” the report read.
In addition, seven computer processing units had missing components reportedly stolen and no inquiry or police report was made to establish the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the parts.
Gross misuse of fuel coupons was recorded in the ministries of Education and Finance.
In the Ministry of Education, a physical fuel coupons count was conducted and the quantity of fuel coupons on hand as at April 23 was 175 litres diesel.
However, Chiri said the records indicated that the quantity of fuel coupons should have been 475 litres, made up of 175 litres of diesel and 300 litres of petrol.
In the Ministry of Finance, 100 litres of petrol and 50 litres of diesel could not be accounted for by the transport officer.
Turning to mismanagement of funds, there was a discrepancy in the Ministry of Finance between the amount recorded as having been received from the accountant general’s office and what was recorded as having been disbursed by the accountant general and also what was in the letters of disbursement.
For instance in the month of January the cash register recorded US$211 603 while the accountant general’s register recorded US$157 573 and R14 100 and the letters of disbursement showed US$340 375-55.
In February, US$87 466 was recorded in the cash register, while the accountant general’s register showed an amount of US$69 748 and letters of disbursement had US$642 916,62.
“It is recommended that the above differences be investigated and the correct position to be reflected in the official records,” recommended the auditor-general.
The Ministry of Energy was accused of making payments amounting to US$1 030 without authorisation and the vouchers were neither stamped nor dated.
On the Ministry of Health, Chiri said she was concerned about the cash shortages and depletion of hospital infrastructure.
Gwanda district hospital was said to have stocked expired drugs dating as far back as 2000 at the time of audit.
At Ingutsheni Hospital government has been prejudiced of over US$3 200 as a result of paying salaries to eight former employees during 2007 and 2008. It was alleged that there had been a verbal authority conveyed by the office of the provincial medical director.
Tsholostho district hospital recorded a cash shortage of R3 441.
On the Ministry of Higher Education, US$950, 91 was paid in December 2008 to AMC Dalmer Chrysler SA (Pvt) Ltd by Harare Polytechnic on behalf of the ministry.
In addition, the ministry borrowed coupons amounting to US$585 from the polytechnic. At the time of audit no refunds had been made.
In the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Registrar General’s revenue collections were kept in safes because they did not have foreign currency bank accounts.
When auditors visited the Registrar-General’s Offices at Makombe building, $252 648, 25 and R87 844 was found in the safe.
The Ministry of Local government in Matabeleland North failed to account for US$815.04 and R250 out of the US$1 615 and R250 grants allocated to the province for Independence Day celebrations, while a total of US$1 570 advanced to 11 of the ministry’s top management officials travelling to Bulawayo and Gweru during the period of March 5 and March 7 remained outstanding at the time of audit.
A payment of US$512 recorded in the Ministry of Information described as lunch and dinner for two was made to the Ambassador hotel and the description of the payment was given as “burial of a hero” without stating or identifying the hero and the names of the beneficiaries.