Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
Government is deepening its battle against all forms of corruption as it seeks to remove gridlocks to the attainment of an upper middle income economy status by 2030.
Secretary responsible for State Enterprises Reform, Corporate Governance and Procurement in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr Willard Manungo, told The Herald Business yesterday that corruption will not be allowed to scuttle the new administration’s efforts turnaround the economy.
“The President’s thrust is really on movement towards an upper middle income economy by 2030, and for us to be able to do that, all sectors, all entities will need to play their part in terms of ensuring that we maximise on the State resources that we have,” said Mr Manungo.
“So the issues of corporate governance take centre stage in terms of utilising State resources. Things like corruption and those other things that represent leakages that undermine HE (His Excellency)’s quest for an upper middle income economy by 2030, will not be tolerated.
“The thrust is now on production, efficiency and maximising on the limited State resources. So there is zero tolerance towards leakages reflected in corruption and the absence of corporate governance breeds such leakages so the stance is really to plug all potential leakages and the insistence on ensuring that corporate governance centre stage.”
President Mnangagwa announced in his inauguration speech on November 24 that corruption would be fiercely fought under his administration, if the country was to prosper.
Already, high profile figures such as former ministers Engineer Walter Mzembi (Tourism), Dr Ignatious Chombo (Finance), Walter Chidhakwa (Mines), Dr Samuel Undenge (Energy) and Saviour Kasukuwere (Local Government), have been dragged before the courts over various allegations.
Further, ZESA Holdings head honchos were nabbed by police on abuse of office charges involving a staggering $11,8 million power deal.
CEO engineer Josh Chifamba, finance director Ms Thokozani Dhliwayo and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri, are currently on bail over the issue.
Allied Timbers Zimbabwe CEO Mr Daniel Sithole also appeared in court on Wednesday after his arrest for allegedly defeating procurement procedures at the parastatal.
Critically, former Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) acting CEO Mr Moses Juma was jailed for an effective two years on Monday this week, again for abusing office.
Interestingly, the courts appear to be heeding the call by the executive for ruthlessness when dealing with graft cases.
In the case that led to the jailing of Mr Juma, who was first arrested in 2016 before his release from Avondale Police Station after the intervention of former Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, the prosecution team implored the court for a deterrent punishment.
Said Chris Mutangadura who represented the prosecution: “Your Worship, the new dispensation is now viewing corruption as a cancer that needs to be exorcised from the society and that the penalty must deter would be offenders.
“A clear message has to be sent out that crime does not pay.”
Magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya conceded that corruption needed to be clamped down upon.
The Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) board has suspended two of its top officials, acting managing director Engineer Shepherd Manamike and the executive, finance and administration boss, Mr Tawanda Marapira over “unethical business practices”.
This ranks as probably a first for a parastatal board to flag such malfeasance given that in the past, some board members would gang up with executives to plunder companies while they underperformed.
In 2016, 38 out of 93 audited State-owned firms reported a combined $270 million loss due to weak corporate governance practices and ineffective control mechanisms.