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‘Need for concerted activism to push ZACC to act on US$890m Covid-19 plunder’

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

An observer organisation has said that there is need for concerted activism and citizen agency to pressure the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to act on the US$890 million Covid-19 funds that were allegedly stolen.

Political commentator Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya appearing on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in this file photo from August 2019
Political commentator Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya from the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) appearing on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in this file photo from August 2019

This follows a recent revelation by the Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri that over US$890 million could have been misappropriated.

A recent report by the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, says there is need for activism to force ZACC to act on allegations of misappropriation of funds by the Health Ministry.

“A case of a pandemic within a pandemic as Zimbabwe still finds itself in the middle of a fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, cases of abuse, misuse and embezzlement of funds meant to finance the containment of the coronavirus continue to take centre stage.

“The recent Auditor General’s special report on the financial management and utilization of public resources in combating the Covid-19 in the country by ministries, government departments and agencies uncovered the abuse and misappropriation of over US$890 million which was meant to fight Covid-19 in the country. This abuse of Covid-19 containment funds is a despicable infringement of the right to health and the right to life of the whole nation. It is gross misconduct that should be condemned with all possible gravity.

“There is a need for concerted activism and citizen agency to put the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to task.

“In view of the prevailing precarious conditions in Zimbabwe’s public health sector stemming from inadequate funding, staff shortages, poor infrastructure and obsolete equipment, the USD961 million windfall from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Zimbabwe, particular attention ought to be directed towards revamping the health sector,” read part of the report.

In her report that she recently tabled in the National Assembly, the AG exposed gross irregularities and deliberate manipulation of figures to facilitate theft of donations and allowances meant for Covid-19 relief projects running into millions.

Initially, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health Minister tried to conceal the audit report that exposed the mess resulting in the AG resorting to handing over a copy of the report to Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda for tabling. Nehanda Radio