1 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Mphoko Rescued Zinara Bosses Shiver Before MPs, Admit Graft

Photo: The Herald
Former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko (file photo).

Trembling Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) executives admitted in Parliament that they abused public funds by paying themselves huge allowances which were outside the payroll system after they were grilled by members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Technical director, Moses Juma, and human resources director, Precious Murove, disclosed that they illegally paid each other $36 383 as allowances for two years (2014-2016) as reported by the Auditor General's 2016 report.

They also paid themselves $3 000 each for corporate wear, unlimited cellphone allowances without the approval from the parent ministry.

During the same period, Juma was the acting CEO and Murove finance director.

They were once arrested by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) on allegations of defrauding the parastatal of about $1.3 million but were released after former vice president Phelekezela Mphoko intervened.

Appearing before the Paurina Mpariwa led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts Tuesday, new Zinara CEO, Nancy Masiywa-Chamisa, said when she joined the authority she took corrective measures and suspended the two but they were later brought back by the board.

"I suspended them and they were brought back by the board to which I report," Chamisa told the stunned committee members.

"I have since managed to reduce expenditure, staff expenses such as travel and other related costs these I have tried to arrest."

When it was time for both Juma and Murove to answer questions from MPs James Maridadi and Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga on why they paid themselves the huge allowances, the duo tried to evade the questions but the legislators members refused to move on without the answers.

The committee chairperson Mpariwa had a torrid time reminding the two executives they were under oath and should stop ducking questions.

"It was an oversight on our part, responded a visibly shivering," Murove the former finance director.

"I can confirm that all the benefits and allowances are now being computed through the pay roll system."

"And yes I benefitted from the allowances."

Also responding, an equally trembling Juma said he benefitted from the said allowances.

"I benefitted from the allowances and transactions that were done outside the pay roll from the period under review because I was an employee of Zinara," he said.

Information from the AG's reports said the ZINARA board members, who reversed the duo's suspension, were also paid by Juma and Murove fuel allowances worth $28 512 for a whole year.

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