By Farayi Machamire
The ruling Zanu PF got part of $2,7 million from the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) that was earmarked for the construction of laboratories and weighbridges, Parliament heard yesterday.
MMCZ, which is 100 percent owned by the government falls under the ambit of the Mines and Mining Development ministry, and is an exclusive agent for marketing and selling of all minerals produced in Zimbabwe except silver and gold.
Giving oral evidence on the report by Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri revealing that $2,7 million was unaccounted for, MMCZ acting general manager Masimba Chandavengerwa told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that they were pressured to release the money to Zanu PF.
Chiri’s damning report released in June 2017 exposed huge sums of money exceeding the legally permissible threshold being spent by MMCZ on shady donations.
According to the report, the MMCZ spent a total of $2 989 913 on social corporate responsibility against the approved budget of $250 000.
The James Maridadi-led Public Accounts Committee demanded a breakdown of the main beneficiaries of the funds.
The MMCZ Act provides that the corporation can only provide financial assistance to any institution or person whose activities benefit the mining industry, and legislators queried why MMCZ funds were donated to a political party.
“Yes, you will see from the list we made some of the donations to Zanu PF functions,” Chandavengerwa said.
Chitungwiza North MDC MP Godfrey Sithole asked if any donations were also made to the MDC or any other political parties.
Chandavengerwa replied: ““Like I said, only to Zanu PF. You will see from the list. Instructions came to say we need so much and we released that amount.”
Chandavengerwa said the institution was under intense pressure from government officials to disburse an extra $2 750 000 which was not budgeted for.
“These donations, Mr Chair, are donations that were donated to the shareholder — ministry of Mines — in particular, and we have an institution called Mining Promotion Corporation which is again a government company and so we found ourselves from time to time (coming under pressure from) government and the ministry directing that we release funds for operations of such institutions.
“And on why did we go above the $250 000 threshold, I think it’s one of those things where you find yourself, where the money is there and the need has been highlighted by the shareholder and you end up releasing,” Chandavengerwa said.
The AG’s report also revealed the corporation is being milked through holiday allowances for senior management.
The report also noted that senior managers received fuel amounting to 51 120 litres in the year under review, but it was not processed through the payroll system and the managers were not taxed. DailyNews