Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Forensic audit exposes rot at NRZ

By Oliver Kazunga

Some managers at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) do not have qualifications for their posts while the parastatal’s wage bill is not in tandem with the size of the workforce, a top company official revealed yesterday, citing findings of the company’s forensic audit.

NRZ board chairman Mr Larry Mavima
NRZ board chairman Mr Larry Mavima

At present, NRZ employs about 4 000 workers from close to 20 000 it used to employ at its peak before the economic downturn.

Last year, the Government authorised a forensic audit of the railways firm’s after the parastatal’s board, led by Mr Larry Mavima, noted that such an audit was one of the key priority areas towards turning around the fortunes of the ailing company.

The forensic audit seeks to reflect what has been going on at NRZ in the past five years in relation to the parastatal’s procurement system, how revenue is being collected from the firm’s estates and properties as well as determining the firm’s human resources and staffing.

The official who preferred not to be named told Business Chronicle that the NRZ forensic audit report was out and is still being discussed internally.

“Results of the forensic audit are out and among other issues, the report shows that the number of NRZ workers do not support the wage bill, it does not tally with it. Also the number of NRZ managers is uneven to the number of the workers.

“In addition, the report shows that some of the managers do not have qualifications that are commensurate with the posts that they occupy,” said the official.

NRZ public relations manager Mr Nyasha Maravanyika professed ignorance about the issue saying they were yet to receive the forensic audit report.

“We have not yet received it (forensic audit report), but once we receive it we will go through it. And once ready for public consumption, we will make it available,” he said.

Mr Mavima who was appointed at the helm of the parastatal in March last year is on record saying heads would roll at NRZ should the forensic audit report show any acts of maladministration and impropriety.

The ailing parastatal is saddled with about $144 million legacy debt with the workers owed $80 million. NRZ requires $400 million in the short to medium term for recapitalisation.

In 2014, the Auditor General’s report for NRZ accounts showed that the parastatal’s freight unit was generating annual revenue of $91,2 million, but incurring expenditure of $103 million.

The passenger unit had annual revenue amounting to $3,2 million, with costs over three times more at $10,9 million.

NRZ is one of the strategic companies in Zimbabwe’s economy and its demise over the years has been blamed for crippling viability of several downstream industries. The Chronicle