By Zvamaida Murwira
Registrar-General Mr Clement Masango is at the centre of a forensic audit commissioned by Government to look into allegations that he could have procured vehicles for the Central Registry’s office without following stipulated requirements.
Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri has been roped in to investigate the case that was raised by the chief accountant in the Registrar-General’s Department, Mr Peter Bwanya.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) two weeks ago impounded two vehicles for the Central Registry suspected to have been purchased irregularly.
Mr Bwanya wrote a letter to Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Permanent Secretary, Mr Aaron Nhepera, alleging that only six vehicles, Isuzu KB250 single cabs were delivered against 11 that the department had procured.
In response, Mr Masango vehemently denied any wrongdoing, saying they bought six vehicles after Treasury revoked the 1:1 parity of the Zimbabwean dollar to the United States dollar.
Mr Nhepera said he had liaised with the Public Service Commission and agreed that there be a forensic audit in the department.
It also emerged that Mr Masango had written to Mr Nhepera to have Mr Bwanya transferred from the department arguing that relations were no longer tenable and that could have an adverse effect on the smooth running of the Central Registry given his strategic position.
“When I received both reports from the RG (Registrar-General) and the chief accountant, I wrote to the PSC for guidance on the way forward, but also giving my proposal view that there be a forensic audit.
“My view to have an audit arose from the fact that I could not make a meaningful decision from the reports I got from the two. The PSC then allowed me to take that route to have a forensic audit by the Auditor-General,” said Mr Nhepera.
He said it was also agreed that ZACC pursues its investigation while the forensic audit was being carried out.
In his meeting with ZACC investigators, Mr Nhepera said it was premature for him to be a complainant in the case in the absence of something tangible like an audit report.
“We held a meeting with ZACC investigators and they wanted to know a number of issues which include procurement procedures. I could obviously not be a complainant in the case when I have not had a clear picture on what transpired.
“But if there is a report which implicates any official, as the accounting officer I am duty bound to be the complainant,” he said.
Mr Nhepera confirmed that he had received a letter from Mr Masango requesting that Mr Bwanya be moved from the department and had sought the views of the chief accountant.
Mr Bwanya said he had written the letter against Mr Masango raising several allegations, insisting that the allegations were well-grounded.
On the other hand, Mr Masango argued that he had not done anything wrong adding that he was ready to have an audit done on all transactions.
In his letter to Mr Nhepera, he criticised four officials from ZACC who impounded two vehicles from the department saying they were colluding with Mr Bwanya, who he said was facing several allegations, some of which could not be disputed.
ZACC spokesperson, Commissioner John Makamure yesterday said investigations were at an advanced stage and further information would be communicated to the media at the appropriate time. The Herald