Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Parliament will create a committee of legislators to investigate corruption and poor corporate governance bedevilling State enterprises and parastatals, if overwhelming support for the idea from MPs is anything to go by.During a rare consensus motion that demonstrated unanimity in the fight against corruption, National Assembly Members yesterday alleged that some ministers received top-of-the-range vehicles and other freebies from parastatals, and that the head of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority was earning US$310 000 monthly.
The Office of the President and Cabinet has since compiled a comprehensive and detailed preliminary report on the remuneration levels of chief executives of all parastatals, local authorities and State enterprises, and the document now awaits review and scrutiny by a committee chaired by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
After the review, the report is expected to be presented to Cabinet next week for a Government decision on immediate and long-term measures and processes to redress the “Salarygate” scandal.
Legislators from across the political divide said culpable public officials must resign and complicit ministers must be fired. They also hailed Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo for taking the lead in fighting corruption.
This came out in the National Assembly as MPs debated a motion by MDC-T legislator for Kambuzuma, Mr Willias Madzimure, to capacitate portfolio committees to carry out their oversight role and ensure good corporate governance.
“We know it is individuals who are corrupt and not political parties or factions,” said Mr Madzimure. “We cannot blame poor corporate governance on President Mugabe. It is up to the ministers to follow-up. We want to hail Minister Moyo. I don’t agree with him on a number of issues. But on this one I support him.”
Mr Madzimure said some ministers were receiving freebies from State enterprises in their portoflios, making it difficult for them to deal with graft.
“There are reports that ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) bought eight V8 (Landcruiser) vehicles but only six can be accounted for. Who took the other two? We understand they also bought huge generators. We have a situation where ministers are being bought houses by parastatals under them.
“Now we have ministers being golden handcuffed. The President has said enough about the need to fight corruption. The ministers must be the gatekeepers,” said Mr Madzimure.
Some ministers, he said, were appointing pliable people to boards of parastatals.
“We want ministers to be fair to the President by appointing bonafide people into boards. Why do we have the same people being recycled in several boards? We want a commission of inquiry into this. We still have credible judges around,” he said.
Mbizo MP Mr Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) – seconding the motion – said the police, politicians and public officials who hide behind politics were driving corruption.
He said the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation would only succeed with good corporate governance.
“Hon (Webster) Shamu (ICT, Postal and Courier Services Minister) must answer where he got the black V8 (Toyota Landcruiser) … Who paid for it? Honourable Shamu is a Member of Parliament, he has all the right to come and debate and speak for himself.
Watch the video below
“There is an institution which collects our money. This institution is called Zimra. It is headed by one Gershem Pasi. I implore members who sit in the committee that superintends over this board called Zimra, how does Gershem Pasi earn US$310 000 per month?
Watch the video below with Hon Chikwinya alleging that Zimra boss earns US$310k below
“Mr Speaker, I am saying that in the absence of a Parliamentary Committee that speaks to the facts and truth, we are all going to be dealing with perceptions. We need a Parliamentary Committee mandated by this Parliament to go and dip into each and every parastatal,” said Mr Chikwinya.
He said there was a need to give the Anti-Corruption Commission arresting powers. Buhera West MP Cde Oliver Mandipaka (Zanu-PF) said President Mugabe had clearly stated his intolerance of corruption and Parliament must act on this.
“We must come up with an almost perfect committee. An honest, courageous and right-thinking committee. We need to take corrective measures. We must also craft laws that are punitive … There is a need to act now. It is high time this country has people of integrity,” said Cde Mandipaka.
Zanu-PF MP for Buhera South, Cde Joseph Chinotimba, said he received a call from a private number on Monday requesting him to sabotage the motion in exchange for a cash payment.
“I went to the police, Econet and NetOne requesting to know who that person is. But they said they could not trace the number. As a result, I realised that MPs are also corrupt. Now I believe some MPs have been paid some money so that they would not talk about corruption.
Cde Joseph Chinotimba says some ministers are corrupt, watch below
“What people must know is that corruption knows no political party. We want culprits to be charged. We have ministers appointing their people to sit on boards of parastatals.
“We want a committee set up by Parliament to investigate these cases. They (culprits) are actually running around to conceal information as we debate this motion. We are actually delaying as we are debating.
“Parliament must appoint a committee to investigate because corruption has destroyed our country. It has become endemic. Ministers who have been involved in this corruption must be fired,” he said.
Cde Chinotimba said corruption resulted in war veterans failing to make ends meet while those who did not go to war were living large.
He hailed MPs from both Zanu-PF and MDC-T for speaking with one voice against corruption.
Watch the video of Mps singing against corruption below
Hurungwe East MP Cde Sarah Mahoka (Zanu-PF) said some parastatals’ executives were bleeding the country while ministers watched.
“We should say everyone responsible, including ministers who approved those perks, must be fired… I suggest that the President must fire those ministers who have problems of corruption. We have talked about corruption for a long time. We want the President to bite some more,” she said.
MDC-T legislator for Binga North, Mr Prince Sibanda, said there were rumours that a minister’s wife was getting allowances from ZBC when she was not employed at the national broadcaster.
Watch Cde Chinotimba speaking about an anonymous corruption call below
“We also understand that some ministers were drawing allowances from PSMAS when they go on foreign trips despite the fact that they would have been catered for by the ministry.
“We cannot trust the executive to act on corruption because we have had some people there trying to muzzle the media for reporting corruption. Those ministers responsible should resign,” he said.