SENIOR officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs are being investigated for corruption and flouting treasury procedures in the procurement of goods and reimbursement of travel and subsistence allowances, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.
According to sources at Home Affairs, the ministry has for some time now been prejudiced by corruption and other illicit dealings involving senior officials.
“Senior employees such as the ministry’s director, an E Chisoko and chief accountant, a Maramba, claimed hotel fees from the ministry when accommodation and food expenses at the Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls and the Beitbridge Express were already catered for,” a source said.
In an interview, Home Affairs permanent secretary Melusi Matshiya confirmed the ministry is aware that there were such illicit dealings and an investigation has been launched into the matter.
“We have heard about such dealings and we are currently investigating the matter. Anyone who is found guilty will be disciplined,” Matshiya said.
“I cannot divulge how much the ministry has been prejudiced of, but we will take disciplinary action and pin down the culprits,” he said.
A complimentary ticket seen by this newspaper shows that Chisoko, Maramba, a Maboreke and another junior employee booked at the Elephant Hills Resort on April 25 and checked out on April 27 but went on to claim for expenses at the ministry.
Further investigations revealed that in November 2013 Maramba went to Beitbridge in the company of a Mrs Phiri and a Mr Hlekesana where they checked in on November 15 to 17 using a complimentary ticket but they had claimed allowances from the ministry.
“The ministry is being prejudiced of thousands of dollars by the employees whose expenses will be catered for by these hotels for free,” the source said.
Maramba however denied any wrong doing and said the case was still under investigation.
“That case is not for public consumption because it is under investigation,” Maramba said.
“The permanent secretary is aware of it and you cannot publish it without the minister’s permission.”
Sources also said Chisoko owns a company which supplies goods to the ministry in what constitutes a conflict of interest as his company is offered first preference ahead of competing companies.
“Chisoko’s company supplies goods to the ministry and this is detrimental to the ministry because there is conflict of interest,” said the source.
Chisoko refused to shed light on the allegations levelled against him and referred all questions to the permanent secretary.
“I have heard all those rumours but you can ask the permanent secretary for a comment,” he said.
Speaking on corruption in March, Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede told parliament that corruption is rampant at his office, which falls under the Home Affairs ministry.
While giving oral evidence to the defence, home affairs and security services committee, Mudede said corruption in the ministry was widespread with some of his officers involved in a racket of issuing birth certificates, national identity cards and passports.