By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Treasurer General Senator David Coltart has dismissed as “false” and “baseless,” press reports claiming that some party officials were pushing for the arrest of leader Nelson Chamisa and Secretary-General Chalton Hwende over allegations the two misappropriated ZW$2 million from party coffers.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio on Saturday, Coltart denounced a story by the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper on the alleged ‘missing RTGS 2m adding that he was not aware of any money which has been misappropriated from MDC coffers by any official or party leader.
“The Zimbabwe Independent’s headline alleging the misappropriation of ZW$ 2 million is false, baseless and appears to be yet another attempt to discredit the MDC generally and its Party Leader and Secretary General.
“As I have made clear to a variety of journalists in the last few weeks since this false story first emerged I am not aware of any money which has been misappropriated from MDC coffers by any official or party leader,” Coltart said.
The Zimbabwe Independent had reported that the matter was causing serious divisions and infighting in the party, with some opposition officials pushing for criminal charges to be pressed against the firebrand youthful politician.
Coltart, however said the party was not investigating the leaders of the party but the annual accounts were subjected to an internal audit as per agreement the party made last year.
He added that Chamisa was not a signatory to the MDC bank account hence he could not misappropriate the funds.
“Since taking office as MDC Treasurer General last May I have implemented a variety of new measures to make the MDC accounting systems as transparent and orderly as possible.
“These systems have included a strict banking culture and an agreement that our annual accounts will be subjected to an internal audit.
“President Chamisa is not even a signatory to our banking account and so it is impossible for him to have misappropriated money. All of these measures have been wholeheartedly backed by President Chamisa.
“Whilst our first audit for the financial year ended 31st December 2019 has not been done yet I have encountered no resistance to it from any quarter within the senior leadership of the MDC.
“The attempts by some to portray the audit as some kind of investigation into alleged impropriety are misleading and utterly false,” Coltart added.
The Treasurer General said it was the MDC’s agenda to meet the highest international standards of accountability and transparency, hence the audit.
“The audit was agreed to last year and is a routine audit. I should also point out that this is the first time the MDC has conducted an audit of this nature and it is the first time any political party in Zimbabwe has ever subjected itself to an audit.
“In all the circumstances the report in the Zimbabwe Independent is clearly designed to impugn the credibility and integrity of MDC President Nelson Chamisa, the Secretary Chalton Hwende and the MDC.
“The Zimbabwean public need to be assured that our goal within the MDC is that it meets the highest international standards of accountability and transparency, which in turn will demonstrate that the MDC is competent to govern Zimbabwe as a whole,” he added. Nehanda Radio