Govt must act on reports of graft

HARARE - Government will never tame corruption in ministries and parastatals unless it acts on the annual audits reports by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri.

While every year Chiri points out at corrupt tendencies within government, her findings have been ignored. Tender processes and procurement procedures are abused by government and parastatal officials, hence fuelling corruption across all levels.

In most instances, funds are not accounted for and they cannot be traced while most financial books are in a shambles. It is, however, disheartening that after the Auditor-General put so much work into unearthing corrupt practices, government has over the years ignored the reports which are gathering dust in some offices.

Government should by now have used Chiri’s reports to plug all the loopholes pointed out in her audits, without which the rot will continue.

There is need for government to ensure there is prosecution of all public officials exposed for corruption, mismanagement of public funds and poor corporate governance.

With President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is on a drive to curb corruption, it should be disheartening for Chiri that those tasked with the corruption fight have not looked at her reports.

Much of the investigations have been done by Chiri and what is left is to nab and prosecute the culprits. Equally disheartening is that members of Parliament who have an oversight role on government activities, have also turned a blind eye on Chiri’s reports.

Parliament comprises several portfolio committees whose various sectors are covered in Chiri’s audits reports and the legislators have failed to tap into them so as to bring those fingered to account.

Curiously, the Auditor-General presents the audit reports to Parliament every year and so did she recently, hence it is the duty of the legislators as people’s representatives to ensure the implementation of the recommendations.

Since 2004 when Chiri was appointed Auditor-General, government has been prejudiced of hundreds of millions of dollars by mostly State enterprises. We urge Parliament, through its portfolio committees, to scrutinise and recommend litigation for all those fingered in the reports.

Chiri’s mandate is constitutional and as such Parliament has the duty to confront line ministries and other Government departments so they explain the loss of several millions of dollars through a combination of bad corporate governance, gross financial mismanagement and fraudulent activities.

In future, we hope boards and accounting officers of ministries would be summoned by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Accounts for further probing.

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