Members of Parliament were shocked yesterday when they were told by Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi that the spot fines police collected at road blocks dotted all over the country were not even enough to buy fuel for police cars.
Ziyambi was responding to a question in Parliament yesterday from Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure who asked why police could not use money they collected at roadblocks to buy vehicles for districts like Zaka.
Zaka Central MP, Paradzai Chakona had asked what was being done about Zaka because police there had not had a vehicle for some time yet there were some parked at police headquarters.
Ziyambi said police were facing a shortage of vehicles and if Chakona had any evidence that there were vehicles parked at police headquarters he should bring forward the evidence.
Responding to Madzimure, Ziyambi said: “Let me state that the amount of fines that we are collecting are inadequate even to cover our operational costs. As we speak, our police officers are short of even money for fuel to run the vehicles that are on the roads, let alone to purchase other vehicles.”
The response prompted another legislator Irene Zindi to request that Ziyambi produce a breakdown of how much the police collected in spot fines, province by province, every week.
There is a strong feeling that the bulk of the money that police are collecting is going into their pockets as was evidenced a few weeks ago when some $2 000 was picked up by a child at a dump near a road block.
It was suspected that the money had been thrown away by corrupt police officers to avoid being caught.
Questions and answers:
MR. CHAKONA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. My question is directed the Minister of Home Affairs. What is the Ministry’s policy with regards to the distribution of motor vehicles to police stations? I ask so because our police station in Zaka does not have a vehicle and it has been like that for a long time; when I see a lot of vehicles parked at the head office. What is the ministry doing or its policy with regards to those vehicles? I thank you.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS (MR. ZIYAMBI): Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to say the position of the ministry is that we want our police officers to be as equipped to the expected standard of policing as possible. However, because of financial constraints, we are unable to do that.
I am not aware of his allegations that there are vehicles that are parked. If he can furnish us with details of the vehicles that are parked, because I am not aware of those. At the moment, we have shortages of vehicles, shortages of all the necessities that we want for policing. If Budget allows, we will ensure that all our police stations have adequate vehicles. I thank you.
MR. MADZIMURE: I have a supplementary question Mr. Speaker Sir. Hon. Minister, considering that it appears that there is a policy for the police to retain the funds that they collect at roadblocks. Considering the number of roadblocks that we have and the amount of money that is supposed to be collected at roadblocks, why cannot some of that money be used to buy vehicles for a station like Zaka?
MR. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for the question which we have addressed several times in this House. Let me state that the amount of fines that we are collecting are inadequate even to cover our operational costs. As we speak, our police officers are short of even money for fuel to run the vehicles that are on the roads, let alone to purchase other vehicles. So, I am not aware. For our funds, we have come to this House and said, they are audited and they are open to public scrutiny. We do not have adequate funding to cover all our police stations. I thank you.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Minister, while you are up standing, the question was can that money not be used to buy vehicles as a priority?
MR. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. When we requested the retention, we wanted money for running costs and not for CAPEX. So, if we have sufficient money for our running cost, then maybe we can make an application to do that; but as of now, it is not sufficient to cover our running costs.
MS. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I need to find out from the Minister why they do not declare the sums of money, province by province, that is collected as spot fine because that is public funds?
MR. ZIYAMBI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for that question. It is a very good question. If we have such a request, we will comply but as of now, what we have been following is what we are required to follow – to declare it to Treasury and to have our accounts audited; but if such a time comes that we are required to declare it province by province, we will comply. I thank you.
MS. ZINDI: Through you Mr. Speaker Sir, posing this question as National Assembly, we are kindly requesting the Minister to make declarations of such spot fines, province by province, on a weekly basis because some of that money is being picked from bins by kids as young as 10 years, along the highways. We are saying, this is public funds, could the minister take note that we are kindly requesting his ministry to declare such funds on a weekly basis, province by province as he has responded. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –
MR. SPEAKER: Order. Can we hear each other? Since there is no legal framework at the moment to effect the request, peharps a written question would enable the minister to respond in detail accordingly.
MS. ZINDI: Thank you Mr. Speaker.