Melody Mashaire Herald Reporter
Zanu-PF youth activist, Mr Acie Lumumba, has been fired as chairman of a Steering Committee on the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment following allegations of misappropriating funds meant for the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC).
Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Cde Patrick Zhuwao, confirmed firing Mr Lumumba on Tuesday.
He declined to shed light on the allegations leading to Mr Lumumba’s sacking. He said he wanted time to clarify the issues from the accounting officer in his Ministry.
“I have removed Mr Lumumba as the chairman of the Steering Committee for the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Investment.
“My decision is based on an apparent conflict of interest between the duties entrusted on him as the chairperson of the Steering Committee and representative of young people on one hand, and his personal interest in a company called Cornerstone Consulting on the other hand,” he said.
Mr Tafadzwa Sengwe immediately replaced Mr Lumumba.
However, sources told the Herald yesterday that Mr Lumumba misappropriated money from a local financial institution that was meant for a youth conference. The funds were alleged to have been transferred from a ZYC account to Mr Lumumba’s company Cornerstone Consulting account without the knowledge of the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry. Mr Lumumba reportedly did not acquit the money he received from a local financial institution through the ZYC account, and this was said to have led the Minister to issue a memorandum to the Permanent Secretary instructing him to undertake an internal audit, a source revealed.
However, Mr Lumumba yesterday said he sourced the money with the full mandate given him by Minister Zhuwao. “The conference was organised by myself in partnership with the Ministry and the financial institution and 75 different youth associations, each association represented by one person. As far as funding of the conference is concerned, the Minister and the Ministry are well appraised on how I sourced the money in full mandate given to me by the Minister (Zhuwao).
“So, any suggestion of misappropriation of funds I am sure can and will be dealt with by the Ministry.
“I have had long conversations with the Minister about the apparent conflict, and as far as I am concerned, the conflict has nothing to do with abuse of funds but it has everything to do with me not agreeing with the Minister’s way of doing things,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Zhuwao appointed two students, Netsai Nhemachena, a law student with the University of Zimbabwe and Tanaka Sanyamahwe, an economics student from Midlands State University as student representatives to the committee.
“I have also appointed the Child President, His Excellency Samuel Nyirenda and the two Child Vice Presidents, Tatenda Maramba and Otis Mashayanyika.
“Also appointed to the Steering Committee are two winners of Total Zimbabwe’s Africa State Upper initiative, Tawanda Chikosi and Mercy Manyuchi,” he said.
The current Steering Committee now comprises members drawn from the country’s 10 provinces.