12 July 2019

Zimbabwe: Chiri's NRZ Red Flag, State Railways Could Lose Everything

The National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ) will be unable to replace all its property, movable and immovable property in the event of damage, fire or theft, Auditor General Mildred Chiri has observed.

In her latest audit report that has unearthed massive weaknesses in government structures, Chiri said the parastatal had not taken out an insurance policy on it's locomotives, wagons, railway lines and immovable assets.

"I noted that the organisation did not have insurance for locomotives, wagons, railway line and immovable properties.

"NRZ may be unable to replace stolen or destroyed assets in the absence of an insurance policy," reads the audit in part.

NRZ in response said insurance was taken out based on finances that were at the parastatal's disposal at the time.

The audit further exposed that decisions made by the current finance director and chief internal auditor could be lower than the acceptable standards as they are "limited to short term periods".

Chiri disclosed the public entity's poor judgments in terms of investment policies had played havoc with the organisation's goals and guidelines where asset management is concerned.

The board which has over the years handled investments is not guided by any committee as is expected of parastatals.

"NRZ had short term investments of $460 000 with a local bank. The entity did not have an investment policy to guide management on selection of financial institutions to invest in. "Investment approval levels as well as creation and composition of an investment committee to oversee investments on behalf of the board," Chiri observed.

The NRZ like most parastatals is literally on its last legs having been run into the ground by a combination of corruption and theft mainly by management and the board as well as political interference.

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