HARARE - Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa says he is moving to establish a special division in the ministry of Finance to implement recommendations from Auditor and Comptroller General (AG), Midred Chiri’s reports.
Chinamasa, who has also created a dedicated Public Enterprises Reform and Monitoring Unit in the Accountant General’s Department under his ministry —recently told the National Assembly that the two units were to be set up by the end of the first half.
“The unit will proactively coordinate the implementation of restructuring reforms; and analyse budgets and financial statements of public entities,” the minister said.
The Public Enterprises Reform and Monitoring Unit is meant to monitor public entities performance.
According to the treasury chief, the development will result in a systematic promotion and monitoring of compliance with the provisions of PFM Act by the Public Entities.
“I will ensure that this unit is equipped with the requisite skills for the achievement of the objectives of increasing Public Enterprises’ contribution to GDP, reduction of their dependence on the fiscus, improvement of service delivery and enhanced accountability,” said Chinamasa.
Chinamasa said once the unit was established, government was going to institute prosecution measures against all who failed to adhere to Chiri’s recommendations.
The treasury chief also said the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General was also set to receive $2 million which will be supported by the World Bank to capacitate the office to deliver its forensic audits timeously.
“In view of the time needed to conduct forensic audits, government will carry out performance audits in order to expedite the reform process, thus $2 million will be committed to the Office of Auditor General, to facilitate this process, which will also be supported by the World Bank,” Chinamasa said.
Chiri —who has unearthed massive financial irregularities at a lot of government-run institutions, is also behind annual reports for the financial years 2013 and 2014 which revealed that the cash-strapped Zimbabwean government cannot account for $3,5 billion which was earmarked for civil servants salaries for the year to December 2012.
The AG’s damning audit reports which have exposed endemic corruption, mismanagement and poor corporate governance in several ministries and State enterprises have been subject to criticism from economists who have claimed President Robert Mugabe’s corruption-riddled administration will not act to stop the rot.
The 2014 report shows brazen theft of cash, stripping of assets and dilatory supervision by officials charged with protecting State property which, to all intents and purposes, is criminal according to market watchers.
“We have also moved to establish another unit within the Accountant General’s Department mandated to analyse audit reports, enforce issues of compliance raised by the Auditor General and ensure that Government is responsive to issues raised by the Auditor General and this August House,” the treasury chief added.