FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE
Non-Tabling of the Report
22 During the work of the Committee, the Committee experienced serious challenges regarding the tabling before Parliament of the Grant Thornton Forensic Audit Report (herein after referred to as the Forensic Report).
23 As indicated above, the Forensic Report was prepared at the special instance, request and direction of the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, who had received complaints and reports from local authorities and other interested stakeholders on the disbursements of funds from the Road Fund and the unsatisfactory performance of some contractors carrying out special projects.
24 The request for a forensic audit was made to the Auditor General who in turn subcontracted Grant Thornton to carry out the work. Grant Thornton completed their work in March 2017.
25 Upon completion, the Auditor General submitted the Forensic Report to the Minister as is required by Section 11 of the Audit Office Act [Chapter 22:18].
26 Section 12 of the Audit Office Act makes it clear that any report transmitted by the Auditor General to the Minister in terms of Section 11, shall be laid by the Minister, before the House of Assembly on one of the seven days on which the House of Assembly sits next after the Minister has received the report.
27 The Committee was able to access the report from Parliament but before it was formally tabled by the Minister in terms of Section 12.
28 During the process of receiving oral evidence, ZINARA Management pulled a rabbit out of the hat and refused to give evidence on issues related to the Forensic Report on the basis that the Forensic Report had not been formally tabled before Parliament by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
29 In the Committee’s initial meeting with the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, the Minister also relied on his failure to table the Report, as the basis of his refusal to answer questions connected to the Forensic Report.
30 The Committee’s work was also complicated by the standard disclaimer provision in any Audit.
31 Reliance was placed by ZINARA Management on clause 6,1 of the Forensic Report which reads as follows:
“This report has been prepared solely for use by the Office of the Auditor General of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development. It contains legally privileged and confidential information which should not be quoted in whole or in part without prior written consent. This report should therefore not be utilized for any other purposes. No responsibility to any third party will be accepted for any publication or other unauthorised use, as this report has not been prepared, and is not intended, for any other purpose.”
32 The Committee’s work was thus stalled and delayed for a few weeks until the Minister formally tabled the Forensic Report in the National Assembly on 26 June 2019.
33 The Committee is gravely concerned by the unclear manner in which special reports are tabled before Parliament.
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