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Zimstat bosses in corruption storm, suspected whistle-blower fired

Contacted for a comment, Zimstat DG Mahonde said, "everything said is correct".

A senior official at the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) was fired after he exposed alleged corruption and corporate malpractices being orchestrated by its Director General Taguma Mahonde and Finance Director Romania Nyahwa, Nehanda Radio can reveal.

Nehanda Radio is in possession of a damning dossier exposing alleged fraudulent activities taking place at Zimstat. It is alleged that DG Mahonde is working in cahoots with Nyahwa to fleece the agency of much needed resources.

Nyahwa as the treasury boss is accused of allocating Zimstat funds and donations to Mahonde, buying him top of the range latest cars (vehicle registrations provided).

It is alleged that The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe donated some money to purchase 8 vehicles and 150 bikes for the agency operations. But the Finance Director “misappropriated” the funds on non-capital expenditure purchase of DG’s SUV Land Rover 4.0 (Reg. AFH 2919) without treasury concurrence.

“This is contrary to the Provisions of the Public Finance Management Act and this is tantamount to financial misconduct. The Agency lost 8 vehicles and 150 motor bikes to the Director and this is on record for verification,” read the dossier submitted to the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube and his permanent secretary George Guvamatanga.

“Variation of the purchased vehicle for the DG was done fraudulently in a suspicious manner which is contrary to provisions of the Public Finance Management Act and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act and this is on record for verification.”

It is further alleged that, advance payments were done fraudulently to finance selected suppliers because there was no “uniformity and fair treatment of all suppliers; this implies that soft loans were advanced to suppliers who had no capacity to do business with the Agency.

A technology company called Top Tech reportedly incurred a loss after getting a bank guarantee which was then rejected “for no good reason whilst other suppliers are being granted advance payments by the Agency.”

The agency allegedly recruited a qualified HR Director from the University of Zimbabwe (name withheld) but he was fired after he allegedly recommended the reinstatement of some senior officials.

“The Finance Director who is the Chief player of dirty games of dismissing innocent people, advised the DG to fire him (Director from UZ) based on incompetence within three months of having joined the Agency.

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“This is poor governance practices, abuse of office and wasteful expenditure as defined by Section 85 (1) (b) of the Public Finance Management Act Chapter 22.19.”

Mahonde is accused of name-dropping President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name to claim immunity from the alleged criminal activities.

“The DG is abusing the name and reputation of the Office of the President and the Party (Zanu-PF) for his personal benefit. He is ever boasting that he is highly connected and untouchable as such he is abusing Agency resources including motor vehicles, fuels and T & Ss,” the whistle-blower said.

“Currently he is in possession of more than five (5) agency vehicles and two (2) personal drivers for his private use which is outside the provisions of good corporate governance practices as a good corporate citizen.”

The whistle-blower recommended that the DG be investigated.

Contacted for a comment, DG Mahonde simply said, “everything said is correct”.

Nehanda Radio understands that, after being exposed, Mahonde and Nyahwa recommended the suspension of Cost Management Accountant Blessing Huragu.

A letter exclusively seen by Nehanda Radio, signed by T. Zimbveka, Deputy Director Finance and Administration dated September 8, 2022 read:

“This memorandum serves to notify you of the suspension of Mr Huragu Blessing from conducting any ZIMSTAT business with immediate effect.

“For all assistance which requires his office, kindly be assisted by the Deputy Director Finance and Administration.”

Finance Director Nyahwa directed all questions to Zimstat Public Relations Officer Hazvinei Chidemo who promised to respond but failed to do so during the time of writing.

Chidemo said: “Hello! May you give me the opportunity to interrogate the allegations and comment later!”

The report was also copied to the Auditor General, Board Chair of Zimstat, Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda and the Zanu-PF headquarters.