Parliament says ZINARA staff, board must be investigated for abuse of office

Parliament says ZINARA staff, board must be investigated for abuse of office

In the present subject matter, there was a clear refusal by the responsible Minister of tabling the Forensic Audit Report. The Committee and Parliament have experienced similar challenges with other Ministers and other forensic audit reports.

The Committee makes a finding that the current legal provisions pertaining to the tabling of reports needs to be harmonised with the Constitution to remove obstacles presented by Members of the Executive unwilling to have reports tabled.

A key company in the Committee’s enquiry, Univern Enterprises (Private) Limited t/a Southern Region Trading Company, refused to give evidence before the Committee citing legal privilege.

The Committee makes the strong finding that there is no legal privilege or protection that is available to a private actor that would have received State resources either by way of contract, donation or grant.

Wherever public resources are received or used, the Constitution gives absolute power to Parliament of scrutinising use of those resources.

The Committee makes the finding that the legal defence by Univern and other entities in some of the Committee’s enquiries, including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has no legal basis at all.

Summary of Recommendations

The definition of “special reports” in the Audit Office Act [Chapter 22:18] must be expanded widely to cover any form of inquiry including, Value for Money audits, special internal audits, Forensic Audits and Special Investigations in terms of Section 40 of the Public Enterprises Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31].

The Committee makes the following recommendations:

  1. That all public sector audits, including special audits (Central Government, State Owned Enterprises and local authorities) and all reports of special investigations conducted in terms of Section 40 of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act [Chapter 10:31] must be forwarded to the Auditor General within 14 days of their completion;
  2. The Auditor General must in turn automatically submit to Parliament, the concerned special report within 14 days of her receipt;
  3. The responsible Minister must table the concerned report before the National Assembly within the next 7 sitting days after the completion of the audit;
  4. Where the Minister fails to table the report as defined above, the Speaker of the National Assembly shall lay before the House the report on the first sitting of Parliament after the lapsing of the 7 sitting days above.
  5. Therein after, the relevant Committee must examine the report or the National Assembly itself must debate the report within 21 sitting days of its tabling.

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