President Emmerson Mnangagwa has approved investigations by a parliamentary portfolio committee into the operations of the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) after an audit unearthed massive corruption, Business Times has learnt.
The Tendai Biti-led Public Accounts parliamentary portfolio committee launched an investigation into the roads authority after a 2016 forensic audit by the Auditor General, Mildred Chiri, exposed the rot where $6m contracts were awarded clandestinely.
“Some of the people don’t know that this public hearing was cleared by Parliament and President Mnangagwa who wants us to probe as a committee and get to the bottom of the matter,” Biti told Business Times last week.
“The details of the corruption that are coming out of the probe are shocking and we are wondering who is behind Zinara’s multi dollar projects, and who is protecting them in this shocking corruption act without facing the wrath of the law,” Biti added.
He said the President had given his blessing to the committee to continue with the investigations despite spirited attempts by someZINARA managers to hide information. They were also arguing they had not seen the Auditor General’s report, and therefore had to seek approval from their parent Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development.
Biti said some bigwigs in government were meddling with the investigations by Parliament into the operations of ZINARA. There were attempts to stop the committee’s hearings whenZINARA executives and Univern directors appeared before the committee recently.
“I even got calls from very high offices trying to ensure that this meeting does not take place, but we are very determined to get to the bottom of it,” Biti said while addressing other MPs without naming the people who phoned him.
“These people need to know that we have the support of the President of this country in the probe and we are not going to stop until we get to the bottom of the matter,” he added.
Recently, the committee grilled the ZINARA management, represented by the acting chief executive, Mathlene Mujokoro, finance director Simon Taranhike, and the ousted director of administration Precious Murove on alleged corruption at the roads authority.