ZTA bosses’ allowances under probe
Farirai Machivenyika-Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) board and management are suspected of unlawfully paying themselves holiday and grocery allowances during the Covid-19 period, triggering the appointment of a five-member special investigation committee by Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu.
The committee has to establish the facts, establish if the suspected allowances were authorised, and establish if they were legal under the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.
Drawing on very senior civil servants from outside his ministry, Minister Ndlovu appointed Permanent Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Simon Masanga as chairman, sitting with chief director in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Mr George Chijarira, chief internal auditor in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development Mr N Shava, director in the Attorney-General’s Office Mrs Rudo Makunike, and chief director in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works Mr Emmanuel Ngwarati.
Mr Oswald Chihombori, the deputy director human resources in the Environment Ministry will be the secretary.
Minister Ndlovu announced the appointment of the committee in General Notice 73 of 2023 gazetted yesterday in terms of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act.
Giving the terms of reference of the committee for the top two managers, the chief executive and the chief operating officer, the Minister said the committee had to establish: the policy on holiday allowances for the ZTA CEO Ms Winnie Muchanyuka; the policy on holiday allowances for chief operating officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi; whether there are any provisions for holiday allowances for Mr Chidzidzi when he was acting CEO in the letter from the Office of the President and Cabinet; if when acting as CEO he benefited from the COO allowances, and if so by how much; how payments were effected and whether the board agreed for the acting CEO to get holiday allowances at CEO level.
In addition, the committee must establish whether there were any breaches in terms of the Corporate Governance Act, and if so, must recommend remedial measures. The committee must also identify whether there are any loopholes or gaps in the allowance system and recommend how to prevent such occurrences in future.
ZTA board members are suspected of receiving grocery allowances during the Covid-19 period, along with holiday allowances.
The minister directed the committee to establish whether grocery allowances were paid to board members during the Covid-19 period, the basis for the Covid-19 allowance provision and whether there was a board resolution to that effect.
If the allowances were paid, the committee needs to establish if this was provided for in terms of the Corporate Governance Act, for how long the board members received the grocery allowances, the total cost in monetary terms and whether the grocery allowances were paid to all staff members of the ZTA.
On holiday allowances for board members, the committee must establish whether these were paid to the board members, the basis for those payments, whether there was a board resolution to that effect and whether these payments are provided for in the Corporate Governance Act.
Minister Ndlovu directed the committee to make “recommendations on way forward, in terms of good corporate governance. On both issues the committee may raise other pertinent issues in terms of the Corporate Governance Act and will be guided by the Corporate Governance Act to ensure transparency, fairness and professionalism in this assignment”.
Ms Muchanyuka was appointed as ZTA CEO in June last year taking over from Mr Karikoga Kaseke who resigned in 2021 due to ill-health.
In the gap, Mr Chidzidzi was the acting CEO after he replaced Ms Rita Likukuma who had been seconded by the then ZTA board to the post.
The ZTA board is chaired by Mr Ray Mawerera who is deputised by Dr Precious Sibiya.
Other members are Mrs Rita Likukuma, Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi, Mrs Veneranda Munyoro, Mr Tare Munzara, Ms Precious Mazhande, Mr Admire Ndlovu and Ms Muchanyuka who as CEO sits on the board by virtue of her position.