The Ministry of Defence and War Veteran Affairs could have been swindled huge amounts of money by its senior finance staffer, Providence Chamboko, who was allegedly fraudulently raising subsistence and travel allowances for soldiers.
Chamboko has since been fired over fraud allegations involving soldiers’ travel and subsistence allowances.
The misdemeanors were exposed by an internal audit. However, Business Times is informed that investigations around corruption cases reported to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission have been moving at a snail pace.
In a report titled “Special Audit Report on Travelling and Subsistence Allowances January-September 2019”, a sample of advance payments revealed that suspected fraudulent payments amounting to US$28 040 were made to 16 members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces who are not deployed at ZDF HQ and two members deployed at ZDF HQ.
Business Times can report that as a result of the volume of some suspected anomalies a case SIBHQ150/19 involving ZDF HQ Finance official (Chamboko) was put before the ZNA Special Investigations Branch (SIB), Harare District.
“An audit of travelling and subsistence allowances (General Ledger 220901) was conducted upon the request of the director, finance and human resources.
“Efforts to clear a huge backlog of outstanding travelling and substances allowances resulted in high volume of transactions thereby posing a high risk of fraudulent activities,” reads part of the report.
Business Times can report that Chamboko was eventually hauled before a disciplinary panel that found him guilty and was subsequently dismissed.
The Ministry of Defence and War Veterans Affairs’ permanent secretary, Grey Marongwe told Business Times that issues of hiring and dismissals fell under the Public Service Commission.
“My duty as the permanent secretary is to give tasks and supervise them but anything to do with hiring, disciplinary is done by the Public Service Commission,” Marongwe said.
According to the audit report, the advance application letters were forged as confirmed by the person whose signature was used, Squadron Leader F. Mutyaso, 2 I/C ZDF HQ Camp.
The act of falsifying authority on advances is contrary to Statutory Instrument 144 of 2019, Treasury Instructions and Section 65 (11) on travelling and subsistence allowances which states that “Travelling and subsistence advances shall only be approved by the Accounting officer or an officer delegated by them”.
It also came out that the nominal role at ZDF headquarters did not have the members who applied for Travelling and Subsistence for the period under review.
Comparison of the movement order control book at the SIB and the attached movement orders on the paying documents at MOD Finance revealed that there were discrepancies on the purpose of journey and the members travelling.
Some movement order entries in the movement order control book that were used on the actual payments were cancelled.
Findings of the report also show that payments were successfully made to the undeserving members.
All the documents that were used to process the mentioned payments were not recorded in the Travelling and subsistence corresponding register at ZDF HQ Finance section.
The report further noted that some documents were received and processed without being signed for in correspondence registers from departments and sections within the defence ministry and this resulted in fraudulent documents being processed and weakened the importance of correspondence registers.
In addition, the signature of officer initially receiving documents used to process fraudulent payments noted in the SIB reference case and subsequent cases is the same throughout all the processed documents.