MDC MP says cabinet cannot end corruption


0

Binga North Member of Parliament Dubeko Sibanda said he did not believe that the executive, which comprises President Robert Mugabe and his cabinet, can end corruption because some of them were involved in corrupt activities.

He said the executive had not taken any action on corrupt activities so far exposed and cited 19 cases of high-level corruption but government had only acted on one, the Willowvale car scandal.

“We have got a scenario in this country where people who run down parastatals instead of being punished, we see them being elevated to higher positions. We have a scenario in which even if allegations are thrown around against senior government officials, we do not have the conscience to say what I have done is bad, let me resign. We do not have that conscience. We have people who when they do whatever they do, they will continue serving in their official roles as if nothing has happened,” Sibanda said this in his contribution to the motion on good governance.

“It is my view that if we are going to rectify the situation that we have, it is high time all those who have been mentioned that are in the Executive to have played a role in some form of corruption or scandal should be asked to resign. If they do not resign then they should be fired from their offices. There is no way we can continue to entrust the Executive with the responsibility to investigate corruption when the same Executive has got the capacity to stand up and say we want to muzzle the press that is bringing out corruption.

“We cannot have trust in an Executive that is also involved and named in corruption scandals, to investigate those scandals. What we only need to do is that all those members of the Executive that have been named and shamed in various scandals, let them do the right thing and come before the Zimbabweans and say, we are leaving the posts that we have been holding because there is no longer trust in them.

“It cannot continue to be business as usual when things are going in the manner that they are going. As a starting measure, it is important that the Executive does the right thing and that is to make sure that Ministers who have been implicated in several scandals, it is high time that they say goodbye to public office so that proper investigations can be done in those scandals.”

Sibanda’s contribution was made last Thursday before the government announced new rules for the appointment of board members and chief executive officers of state enterprises. But the government did exactly what he was worried about. It set up an agency under the president’s office. Parliament wanted a parliamentary committee to have oversight.

Sibanda said his concerns emanated from the fact that there were reports that one minister’s wives was receiving a salary from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation when she did not even work for the organisation.

“It is stated that Ministers, for example in the ZBC scandal Mr. Speaker, it is being alleged that a wife to the Minister was actually drawing salaries every month from ZBC without ever being employed by that parastatal”to which a member shouted “Mukadzi waShamu, Ministeress”-

Sibanda continued: “Mr. Speaker, rumours are also doing rounds that at PSMAS, Ministers, when they are going outside the country on duty, as much as they get allowances from Government, they were also drawing allowances from PSMAS as entertainment allowances. On what basis, nobody really knows.

“Mr. Speaker, as we speak, it is splashed all over the internet that one of the causes that have brought down CMED – CMED used to supply fuel throughout the country Mr. Speaker but now their pumps are dry – and it is all over the internet and it is splashed that fuel worth over US$3 million was diverted to a private garage of a Minister.”

 

Full contribution:

 

MR. D P SIBANDA: Thank you Mr. Speaker for finally recognising me….

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. I think the hon. member has got eyes to see. You are not alone in this House; there are many others who stand up; who want to debate. So, it does not matter if he is the only one from Binga, the Speaker is the Speaker for the nation. I kindly request Hon. Sibanda to withdraw the expression, ‘finally’?

MR. D. P. SIBANDA: My apology Mr. Speaker, I withdraw. Before I make my contribution Mr. Speaker, let me make mathematical exercise of some figures that have been thrown around especially the figure pertaining to what the top revenue collector man is earning. If that figure is correct of US$310 000 per month, it is important for me to play that mathematical exercise because ZIMRA is the entry point of all the revenue for this nation. Therefore, if it is being held at the entry point, it might mean that at the end, there is nothing that is going to the nation. If the Commissioner General is earning US$310 000 per month, that translates to about 14.9% of the total budget that was allocated to this august House for this year. What it means is that his annual salary is about 14.9% of what the whole operations of Parliament were allocated as a budget for 2014.

My hon. brothers and sisters have already done justice to this motion. However, I would also want to touch on a few aspects of this motion, I want to look, Mr. Speaker at the effects of corruption on the economy and the society. I want to look at the role of the Executive on curbing and managing corruption. Finally, I want to proffer my own opinion on what we can do in order to deal with this issue. This motion comes against a background where we have been seeing a lot of reports in newspapers flying around about what is happening relating to corruption in this country.

Mr. Speaker, it comes against a background in which allegations are being made that the Acting President had actually warned newspapers not to publish corruption. It comes against a background in which one Hon. Dr. Kereke is fighting a lone war against corruption. Unfortunately my brother has left, but I need to acknowledge that he has been fighting a lone war to fight corruption against a deafening silence from the State. That is the background of the debate of this motion.

Mr. Speaker, I have basically put about three effects of corruption. The first one being that corruption, by its nature, increases the cost of doing business. What this means is that if an investor wants to come into the country and start a business, instead of budgeting let us say US$30 million, they will have to add a certain fraction in order to grease certain hands for that project to occur. Therefore, it means that a US$30 million project will end up costing like 30.5, 31, 32, 33 or 40 million United States Dollars because some people have got to benefit before that project begins.

Naturally, Mr. Speaker, the effect of such an occasion is that an investor will be discouraged from getting into that economy because there is no set down figure for bribing officials, there is no set down figure for making sure that you get the permission that you want in order to do business. It is a speculative figure and therefore, most investors will avoid coming into the economy and the economy will not grow as a result of corruption.

The third effect is that naturally, development projects are stalled as funds that are meant for the actual implementation of the project are diverted towards the satisfaction of an individual’s appetite at the expense of the general public. The fourth and final effect, Mr. Speaker, is that the perception against the country becomes one that deters the general appetite for the investors to come into that economy. Mr. Speaker, because of that, I think we need to give as much weight as possible to this motion.

In my view, the role of Government in curbing corruption and in improving corporate governance can be explained in three ways. Firstly, it is the fundamental role of Government as the biggest employer in the economy to implement corporate governance within its various ministries, parastatals and State owned enterprises. The Executive is a critical player in the economy. Therefore it is important that it tries to follow corporate governance procedures.

Secondly Mr. Speaker, the role of Government in corporate governance is that it has got a role to monitor operations. Not only of its enterprises but also of other enterprises and also to protect the vulnerable members of society from that cancerous practice called corruption.

It has also a role to enforce mechanisms of corporate governance. Where others are erring, the Government must be seen to be coming in to make sure that it implements corrective measures against that. Therefore, as I assess the role that the Executive has got to play, Mr. Speaker, I cannot fail to look at our Executive from a historical perspective. It is important that I look at how the Executive has conducted itself in matters to do with corporate governance and corruption.

Now, my honourable colleagues highlighted a number of corruption activities that have happened in this country and without really repeating so much, I think the most prominent cases up to about 2001, I have got 19 that I can cite and that have happened in this country.

In 1987 Mr. Speaker, there was the ZISCO Steel Blast furnace scandal. In 1987 again, there was the Air Zimbabwe Fokker scandal. In 1986, there was the National Railways Housing scandal, 1988 there was the Willowgate scandal, 1989 ZRP Santana scandal which was mentioned by my brother and in 1994, the War Victims Compensation scandal which was again mentioned.

There was also the Grain Marketing Board grain scandal, the VIP Housing Scheme scandal was done in 1996, the 1998 Boka Banking scandal, the 1998 ZESA YTL Soltran scandal, 1998 Telecel scandal and I am not sure whether it has been mentioned but the Telecel scandal of 1998 is critical. 1998 again, the Harare City Council Refuse Tender scandal, the 1999 Housing Loans scandal, the 1999 NOCZIM scandal, the 1999 DRC Timber and Diamond scandals, the Ministry of Water and Rural Development Chinese Tender scandal, the Harare Airport scandal and a number of scandals Mr. Speaker that I can cite.

However, when we try to look at all these scandals, that have been listed here as we try to analyse the role that the Executive plays in curbing corruption, Mr. Speaker, we will discover that our Executive’s conduct has not been the best. I think out of all these scandals the only one where we can say that some bit of action was taken was the Willowvale Motor Industry scam where we had a number of Ministers resigning and a few who were prosecuted and then pardoned.

When we look at that Mr. Speaker, what it means is that there has been lack of political willingness; that political will, to make sure that we nip corruption in the bud. There has not been that will from the Executive to ensure that these corruption scandals which are going around come to a stop.

We begin to ask ourselves Mr. Speaker; why is it that the Executive is taking a lackadaisical kind of approach towards such scandals that are taking place in this country? It gives us room to scrutinise members of the Executive themselves and say, how have they contributed towards the scandals, even the current scandals which are taking place Mr. Speaker?

For example, let me be pardoned Mr. Speaker for saying that in the ZISCO scandal, I still remember that a high ranking figure was mentioned and that is the then Minister of Water and Natural Resources. He is said to have collected a sum of US$11 000 from ZISCO Steel for merely going on a State visit in Botswana that had nothing to do with ZISCO steel.

What that means Mr. Speaker, is that we have got a Cabinet Minister who was going on a State visit, drawing allowances from the State coffers but also drawing other allowances called entertainment allowances to the tune of US$11000 for visiting Botswana on a business that has got nothing to do with that parastatal.

So, when we come back now and try to look at what has been happening at PSMAS, ZBC, ZINWA and many other parastatals, we begin to ask ourselves because rumours Mr. Speaker are actually going round though they might be hear-say but it is important to note because they become a pointer to what might be happening somewhere. Rumours are going round Mr. Speaker to the extent that Ministers are having gifts of big vehicles being bought for them by parastatals as gifts and not as vehicles to use during their performance of their duties.

It is stated that Ministers, for example in the ZBC scandal Mr. Speaker, it is being alleged that a wife to the Minister was actually drawing salaries every month from ZBC without ever being employed by that parastatal – [AN HON. MEMBER: Mukadzi waShamu, Ministeress]- Mr. Speaker, rumours are also doing rounds that at PSMAS, Ministers, when they are going outside the country on duty, as much as they get allowances from Government, they were also drawing allowances from PSMAS as entertainment allowances. On what basis, nobody really knows.

Mr. Speaker, as we speak, it is splashed all over the internet that one of the causes that have brought down CMED – CMED used to supply fuel throughout the country Mr. Speaker but now their pumps are dry – and it is all over the internet and it is splashed that fuel worth over US$3 million was diverted to a private garage of a Minister.

So, this is the kind of raw that we are seeing being played by the Executive in this country. The nation is busy crying and it is crying because it wants answers. Answers should come from the same leadership. We look at a parastatal like Hwange Colliery Company Mr. Speaker. It is actually alleged that some customers of Hwange Colliery’s coal, are actually being undercharged, then the difference of the official charge and the actual price goes to certain individuals’ pockets.

We have got a scenario in this country where people who run down parastatals instead of being punished, we see them being elevated to higher positions. We have a scenario in which even if allegations are thrown around against senior Government officials, we do not have the conscience to say what I have done is bad, let me resign. We do not have that conscience. We have people who when they do whatever they do, they will continue serving in their official roles as if nothing has happened.

It is my view that if we are going to rectify the situation that we have, it is high time all those who have been mentioned that are in the Executive to have played a role in some form of corruption or scandal should be asked to resign. If they do not resign then they should be fired from their offices. There is no way we can continue to entrust the Executive with the responsibility to investigate corruption when the same Executive has got the capacity to stand up and say we want to muzzle the press that is bringing out corruption.

We cannot have trust in an Executive that is also involved and named in corruption scandals, to investigate those scandals. What we only need to do is that all those members of the Executive that have been named and shamed in various scandals, let them do the right thing and come before the Zimbabweans and say, we are leaving the posts that we have been holding because there is no longer trust in them.

It cannot continue to be business as usual when things are going in the manner that they are going. As a starting measure, it is important that the Executive does the right thing and that is to make sure that Ministers who have been implicated in several scandals, it is high time that they say goodbye to public office so that proper investigations can be done in those scandals.

(52 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *