1 July 2019

Zimbabwe: $400m Debt Stifles CAAZ

Photo: Innocent Makawa/The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa receives a token of appreciation from Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe board chairman Thembinkosi Magwaliba at the groundbreaking ceremony for the modernisation of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare (file photo).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe is saddled with a $400 million debt emanating from overdue foreign and domestic obligations.

This was said by Auditor-General Mildred Chiri in her annual report for the financial year ended December 31, 2018 on State Enterprises and Parastatals where she issued an adverse opinion on the organisation.

"The accompanying financial statements do not present fairly the financial position of CAAZ as at December 31, 2018 and its financial performance and its cash flows for the year ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards," she said.

Mrs Chiri said the parastatal was technically insolvent as its liabilities exceeded its assets by approximately $200 million.

CAAZ has also been operating without a substantive finance director, thereby compromising effective finance management.

"The authority has been operating without a substantive finance director since 2016," said Mrs Chiri.

"In addition, the positions of senior airside safety and airside safety officer were also vacant.

"I draw attention to the fact that the authority did not service overdue long-term foreign loans amounting to $312 283 403 and domestic loans amounting to $105 842 913 during the year ended December 31, 2018.

"The authority's current liabilities exceeded its current assets by $199 728 126. These events or conditions indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the authority's ability to continue as a going concern."

Poor governance has haunted CAAZ for a long time, resulting in the suspension and arrest of chief executive officer Mr David Chaota.

He is accused of awarding of a 28 million euro (US$33,3 million) tender to Indra Sistemas and Homt Espana SA for the finance, supply and installation of air traffic control and communication management systems without going to tender in 2017.

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