GMB splurges $8m on illegal expenses
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB) diverted $8 million meant to buy grain from farmers to loan repayments, utility bills and salaries for staff without authority, an audit has revealed. In her December 31, 2016 report, Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri said the implications of such diversion of funds would result in them losing confidence in GMB and withhold their produce.
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“The Board received a total of $119 376 000 from the Government for the payment of grain deliveries and grain handling charges between June 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015. However, I noted that out of this amount, $7 982 537 was used for non-grain procurement commitments such as salaries and statutory deductions, transport costs, council rates and water, electricity, packaging material, bank loans and overdrafts repayments and trading stock purchase and these were not authorised,” said Ms Chiri in her report.
According to management’s response to audit observations, the board said it met and deliberated on the issue and reprimanded the responsible staff to desist from such practices. GMB at one point spent more than two years without paying for maize delivered.
In another observation, Ms Chiri said she noted that the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration could not support project expenditure amounting to $2,1 million while the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency failed to support census expenditure amounting to $28 million. On Zinara, it was noted that its tolling assets were not allocated value and were not recognised in financial statements whose implication meant that asset balance would be misstated.
On Infralink, a joint venture firm between Zinara and G-Five to widen the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare highway, a garnishee order was made by Zimbabwe Revenue Authority of $46,9 million for the year for understating income tax and Value Added Tax but management did not accrue the amount arguing that the tax status of the concern was still to be finalised.
“The risk or implication of that is financial statements may be misstated due to the understatement of the tax expense and trade creditors and an overstatement of accumulated profit by $46,9 million,” reads Ms Chiri’s report.
It was also noted that there were no contracts entered between Zinara and Third parties for the collection of overload fees, collection of presumptive tax, bridge toll fees and for security services at tollgates, something that might result in financial loss in case of disputes.
“Zinara entered into a contract with a certain contractor to carry out road surfacing works at One Commando and Police General Headquarters. The total amount on the contract was $447 154 for the works to be done. I observed that Zinara made payments amounting to $652 830 for the works done at One Commando and PGHQ which were $205 677 above the contract price and some of the payments were done without supporting documents,” said Ms Chiri.
On Zimstat, Ms Chiri said the Agency failed to provide evidence such as attendance register for the 40 000 individuals who participated in the 2012 census. It was noted that ZETDC last carried meter readings for some properties in 1984 and total negative bills amounted to $60 million, in addition to 333 staff members with negative bills.
On the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, it was noted that the Corporation paid $25 228 as board fees during the period December 2013 to December 2015 yet there was no board at the time.
“I noted that the corporation incurred expenditure on donations amounting to $2 989 913 that exceeded the approved budget of $250 000,” reads the report.
In response, management said the corporation donated funds on directives from the parent Ministry.