My hands are clean—Gumbo

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CHENGETAI ZVAUYA

Minister of State for Presidential Affairs (Implementation and Monitoring) Joram Gumbo has dared the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to investigate him as he says he has a clean record in all the ministries he has been assigned to.

Gumbo, who has been a government minister since 2015, served as Transport and Infrastructural Development minister until October 2018 and Energy and Power Development until March when he was reassigned to his current portfolio.

Gumbo is also the longest serving Zanu PF member of parliament.

In June, ZANU PF youths said Gumbo, alongside incarcerated Environment and Tourism Hospitality Industry minister Prisca Mupfumira and central bank chief John Mangudya among others, had to clear their names of corruption allegations.

Mupfumira was arrested last month and faces seven counts of criminal abuse of office involving US$95m at the National Social Security Authority. On Monday High Court judge Justice Erica Ndewere reserved judgment on Mupfumira’s bail application.

In an interview with Business Times, Gumbo said he never engaged in corrupt activities working as government minister in charge of the Transport and Energy portfolios.

“ZACC has nothing to talk to me about on corruption.   I have all the documents of the projects I did as a minister, and I also forwarded them to President’s Office and Special Anti- Corruption Unit in the President Office,” he said.

Gumbo said he also presented a report to the ZANU PF politburo on how
he handled his former portfolios.

“I know that the youths mentioned my name and I briefed the party leadership and politburo members that the youths must be allowed to air their sentiments, but they have nothing tangible against me. I am clean. I presented a report to President Emerson Mnangagwa on my duties and on all the projects I did in the government ministries,” Gumbo said, adding that he was willing to face the probe if it was necessary to clear his name.

“I welcome the decision made by President to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the allegations of corruption against individuals named as this will clear up everything.”

He said the youths who were soiling his name were doing so from an uninformed position adding it “is unfortunate that the person who exposed corruption at Zimbabwe National Road Administration is now being labelled”.

Gumbo said he has not sued the youth’s leadership for defaming him and has forgiven them “as I regard them as  my children from the party”.

Gumbo said he was the one who had instituted a probe into the operations of ZINARA and the use of the funds by the parastatal.

He also said his name was also being mentioned in the operations of Air Zimbabwe in forming Zimbabwe Airways as he had been negotiating on behalf of government in the purchasing of aircraft from the Malaysia government.

“Air Zimbabwe has been riddled with enumerable challenges and there was need to streamline the operations of the airline and re-align the operations and organisational structures of Air Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Airways so that the two operate under one umbrella,” Gumbo said.

“Everything I did was above board and my record speaks for itself. I never benefited a single cent doing my work as a government minister.”

He said one of the matters that had caused a storm when he was in charge of the Transport ministry was the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme in which the ministry, together with the ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Office of  the President  and Cabinet engaged local financial institutions to raise funding for roads infrastructure using ZINARA  balance sheet in the sum  of US$300 million.

Gumbo said CABS/ Old Mutual were set to raise US$150 million with the first US$30 million being available and the balance between end of June 2018 and December 2018.

ZB Bank was set to raise US$150 million with US$20 million being available.

In a brief to President Mnangagwa, Gumbo said the US$20m raised by ZB Bank “is now caught up in the administrative complexities emanating from the office of the President and Cabinet”.

Gumbo said the Office of the President and Cabinet set up a parallel structure to disburse the funds after engaging a company called Neo Africa, which is said to be entitled to US$5,250,000 which is 3.5 percent of the US$150 million.

Of the total amount of US$5,250,000 about $1.5 million is said to be for hand-held gadgets to be supplied to ZINARA by Neo- Africa.

A Project Management unit to be chaired by the secretary for Policy Formulation Analysis and Coordination was given the mandate to disburse and monitor the projects which at law is the function of the board and management at ZINARA.

“My ministry, your Excellency is strongly against such blatant disregard of the law and corporate governance principles by senior government officials,” wrote Gumbo to President Mnangagwa.