Former information and broadcasting minister Jonathan Moyo ordered the diversion of more than $2.4 million meant for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation salaries to his pet project, the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) without Treasury approval, Now Daily can reveal.
The issue has now become the subject of a government investigation amid reports that a huge chunk of the money cannot be accounted for.
The ministry’s finance director, accused of failing to keep records, is embroiled in yet another scandal after hiring an expensive car claiming that all the available pool cars did not match his status.
The litany of charges is noted in the recently-released reports of government auditor-general Margaret Chiri. She has ordered the ministry officially to account for the money nearly two years after the jaunt, which took Moyo’s highly paid media friends dubbed ‘experts’ around the country conducting what many saw as useless public hearings over issues that were already known.
“The funds should be properly accounted for and reported on in line with Section 49 of the Public Finance Management Act,” Chiri said in a damning report on government finances released recently.
Chiri said the ministry asked for $6.8 million from Treasury in 2013 to cover chronic ZBC salary arrears. The ministry transferred only $4.4 million to ZBC and kept the balance of $2.4 million.
“The ministry then sought to utilize the remaining funds in 2014 for the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) programme and requested for authority from Treasury. However, no evidence was availed for audit examination showing that Treasury approved the budget or the request to use the funds before the funds were utilized,” Chiri said.
She said the ministry’s records on IMPI expenditures were in a shambles.
“My further analysis of how the funds were utilized revealed that the expenditure was not accounted for in the Appropriation Account or through the creation of a Fund Account,” the auditor-general said. She added that there was the risk that “proper administration of funds can be compromised when Treasury concurrence is not obtained for use of funds and where financial reports are not prepared for accountability purposes”.
Moyo’s former ministry, from which he was fired unceremoniously by president Robert Mugabe in mid-2015, was also accused of wasteful expenditure after blasting $33 000 by hiring an expensive luxury vehicle for a year for its finance director instead of making use of available pool vehicles. This was done without approval of the state accounting officer and without going to tender as required by government rules, the auditor found, blaming an ‘inappropriate supplier’ for the massive bill equating the cost of a new car.
Moyo’s officials were also found to have spent half a million dollars in irregular phone allowances and travel ‘advances’ to top officials.
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