THE Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs is demanding that Copac co-chairpersons to return the Toyota 4×4 vehicles they took after the completion of the constitution-making process following an audit of the institution’s assets as it winds up operations at the end of this month.
Sources close to the ministry said the co-chairpersons had improperly allocated themselves the all-terrain vehicles as golden handshakes in addition to US$15 000 each and US$12 000 for committee members after the constitutional referendum in March.
“The ministry has since written a formal letter to Copac national co-ordinator asking him to collect the vehicles from the co-chairpersons,” the source said.
It has been further learnt that the ministry has extended the coordinator Gift Marunda’s contract to the end of August 2013 to facilitate a complete audit of the organisation’s assets in the wake of revelations senior members had grabbed the vehicles and other niceties.
“Copac co-ordinator as the chief accounting officer at the organisation had his contract extended so that he could facilitate the auditing of assets as the institution closes shop. There are fears some assets and equipment were looted,” the source added.
Treasury is also demanding that the vehicles be returned.
Copac co-chairpersons were Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF), Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC).
Marunda confirmed there was an audit at Copac, but said it was routine since the organisation was closing shop.
“The audit was necessitated by our winding up and the urgent need last month for us to hand over some assets to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). However, not all assets were handed over then since we were also still using some of the equipment,” Marunda said.
Marunda said initially the Copac management committee had approved that co-chairpersons keep the vehicles, but this had not been sanctioned by Treasury.
“The co-chairs have formally appealed to Treasury to retain the vehicles or be given the option to purchase them at book value as is normal government procedure for senior officers,” Marunda said.
The co-chairpersons received two vehicles each a Mazda BT50 and a Toyota Hilux 4×4 double cab during the course of writing the new constitution.
Marunda said they have requested to purchase vehicles issued to them in November 2012.
Copac was funded jointly by the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which financed the acquisition of vehicles, computers, laptops, iPads, audio recorders, video recorders and furniture used during the constitutional review project.
Most of the equipment has since been donated to Zec except that which is still in use or damaged.
“We now have a few pieces of equipment left; mostly broken assets which were damaged during the outreach programme. However, all the equipment will be accounted for,” Marunda said.
The constitution-making process used over US$50 million and took four years to complete despite having been set to last only 18 months when the Global Political Agreement was signed.