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Over US$10 million missing at ZINARA, “it operates like a tuck-shop”

More than US$10m is going missing through third party insurance at Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) “where fictitious insurance companies, ghost accounts have been created using computerisation which we created to make sure that there is no delinquent behaviour,” Parliament was told.

This was revealed by Zanu-PF Chegutu West MP Dexter Nduna in Parliament on Tuesday. He was commenting on the report of the Public Accounts on the COVID-19 pandemic, Financial Management and Utilisation of Public Resources in the Country’s Provinces by Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The report which was tabled by MDC Alliance MP Memory Mbondiah recommended the unleashing of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to institute investigations on the issue of duplicate beneficiaries with a view to prosecuting those guilty of any wrongdoing within 180 days of tabling.

Thousands of dollars worth of money and donations meant for Covid-19 centres were allegedly looted.

Nduna compared the looting to a situation at ZINARA where he said more than US$10 million was missing.

“Having said that, as we deal with our issues, as we unpack this delinquent behaviour Madam Speaker, we are not getting calls and we are now getting a lot of information as Public Accounts Committee to the fact that there is a lot of corruption going on in parastatals, other Government, quasi-Government entities and ministries.

“As we speak, like we were debating last week about the Insurance Bill Regulation and amendment of the same to an extent that the Minister of Finance Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube actually said he proposes to debate another day when we were in Committee Stage, that shows how he actually is grappling with issues that are embedded in that Bill and amendments of that Act so that there is a water-tight Act that is going to make sure that there is no corruption that is coming in as a result of Acts that have a lot of flows in them.

“We spoke about the issue of insurance at ZINARA and third party insurance which was analogue at some point but now it is computerised. As we speak, after we debated that Bill or the amendments in the Insurance Act, we started getting calls to the effect that there is more than US$10m that is actually going missing at ZINARA, as we speak US$10m for third party insurance where fictitious insurance companies, ghost accounts have been created using computerisation which we created to make sure that there is no delinquent behaviour.”

Nduna further said: “Madam Speaker, if we had to wait for the Auditor-General to unpack what is happening at ZINARA through third party insurance, we will end up not getting to arrest anybody. As we speak, people should be taken by surprise and should be arrested immediately and investigations should see them going before the courts because by any stroke of imagination, that is not a pittance, but it is corpus, humongous, gigantic sums of money that have gone missing. Because we debated vociferously and effectively the Insurance Act and Amendment, now a lot of issues are coming out.

“The issue of third party insurance speaks to and about what has happened on the COVID-19 funds except the issue of the COVID-19 funds usage which came to light when the Auditor-General had gone in.

“It is because the elements at ZINARA are trying to cover up for their delinquent behaviour. They are using that place as a tuck shop for their own self enrichment.”

Nduna claimed that since December last year, there has been congestion on tollgates “and as long as the money is swiped on the side where it does not conform to the computer, there is no regularisation that can see that money going to Government, that Government will get to tax that money as well.

“That money is going to Intertoll and it is South African, it is group 5 and that money is having what is called illicit outflows and revenue leakages whilst we watch.

“My point exactly is, is it possible if it pleases you, for ZINARA to close for 48 hours and then we open it again, we use new staff and everyone else who is not a thief because it is a cartel, that place smells of a lot of injustice.

“We do not want to wait for the Auditor-General to bring in at the close of the Ninth Parliament, a forensic audit I am talking about, but this is currently happening now. Luckily, where there is usage of computers, it will leave a footprint.

“So where people are saying that there were ghost accounts that were siphoning money meant for third party insurance, that is the reason why there is no compensation for third party insurance.”

Contacted for a comment, ZINARA spokesperson Tendai Mugabe denied the allegations.

He said: “Kindly note that ZINARA has not lost any money through Third party insurance. The requirement for all third party insurance companies is for them to do a prefund to ZINARA so there is no way we can lose money that way.”

The Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (ZACC) spokesperson John Makamure said the organisation had not received any report pertaining the issue.

“We have not been informed of that one. Will get the report and look into the issue to determine if it falls within mandate offence,” he said.

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