By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) treasurer-general David Coltart has dismissed as false reports that $2 million is missing from party coffers.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio, Coltart said the MDC was implementing efficient safeguards in its financial systems to ensure party funds were used in a transparent manner.
Questions on the alleged missing $2 million dollars and the ensuing audit come after a report by the independent daily newspaper, NewsDay, on Wednesday.
The report quotes MDC sources who said there was proof that $1,9 million withdrawn from the party had been used for other unintended purposes. “We are faced with that challenge whereby $1,9 million was stolen and used for other purposes,” the source was quoted saying.
“The MDC is implementing international best practice in its financial systems. The report in today’s issue of NewsDay about $2 million missing from MDC coffers is false, misleading and alarmist.
“For the record, the party has implemented adequate systems to ensure that party funds are used in a transparent and professional manner for the good of the party,” Coltart said.
“In order to enhance and engender a culture of transparency, which is one of the party’s cardinal values, the MDC has contracted a firm of auditors in line with its congress resolutions to conduct an audit of the party’s accounts for the year ended 31st December 2019,” read the statement.
Lack of accountability in party finances may result in donors withdrawing financial support to the main opposition.
Coltart said the audit currently underway was the first of such routine audits, and had nothing to do with the alleged vanishing of $2 million from the party coffers.
“This is the first time any political party in Zimbabwe has subjected its accounts to an audit, and is part of a wider programme to transform the MDC into a party which meets the best international standards of internal governance.
“All political parties should do the same in the interests of accountability because these are taxpayers’ funds, received by political parties under the Political Parties Finance Act.
“Currently being conducted is a routine audit to ensure that the party’s finances and accounting systems are given a thorough check in the true spirit of transparency and accountability.
“I stress; this is not a forensic audit.
“Neither the treasurer-general nor the secretary-general has received reports of any missing funds.
“Since the MDC is a party of excellence, the findings of the party audit will be furnished to all relevant authorities and organs, including Parliament,” Coltart added.
On his microblogging Twitter, Coltart also dismissed the report that he confirmed the loss of funds to the media saying this was “poor journalism”.
“This is very poor journalism from NewsDay. I made it very clear that I have no evidence of fraud before me and this is a routine audit agreed to last year by the MDC Standing Committee,” he said.
Last year, the opposition MDC received more than $4 million under the Political Parties Finance Act from the $12 million that was released by the government. Zanu PF courtesy of their two-thirds majority in parliament got the remainder of the money. Nehanda Radio