FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa reportedly owes the government $19 000, which was advanced to him as a loan during his tenure as Justice minister, Parliament has been told.
A report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts, which was presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday, said since 2010, staff in the Justice ministry had accrued outstanding travel and subsistence advances of $507 829.
The report, presented by committee chairperson, Paurina Mpariwa, said the ministry had been failing to recover the advances in violation of Treasury Instruction 1505.
“The ministry only managed to recover $22 489 in 2014 and the secretary, Virginia Mabhiza, acknowledged the observation and confirmed that no recoveries were instituted from 2010 until when she joined the ministry in 2013,” the report read.
“A schedule submitted to the committee showed that some deductions commenced in April 2016 for 76 officials out of a total of 441, with varying outstanding advances, and when the ministry appeared before the committee, the accounting officer gave an impression that deductions were effected on every owing officer, yet further written submissions showed that it was only a handful.”
The report added: “She (Mabhiza) also highlighted that deductions were increased from $50 to between $100 and $500 depending on the level of the official. Evidence presented showed that only one individual, with an outstanding amount of $2 360 had his or her deduction pegged at $100. The rest were contributing less than $100. Surprisingly, a sample of those owing huge amounts showed that deductions were not yet effected.”
The list of other Justice ministry officials with outstanding amounts also revealed that one S Zambada owed $18 339, W Nyambuya ($18 033), M Zakeyo ($16 225), V Nguruve ($13 746), T Chigumadzi ($13 415), H Gadzai ($12 204) and S Suntile ($10 371).
Eighteen other officials owed amounts ranging between $5 000 and $9 000.
“The committee noted with concern, that there was laxity in recovering the outstanding advances by the ministry.
At the current rate of recovery, it will take the ministry forever to recover the outstanding advances.
“It, therefore, recommends the ministry to effect realistic deductions ranging from $100 to $500 for every individual owing, taking into account the outstanding amount and the grade,” the report reads.
Parliament also ordered disciplinary action to be taken against the ministry’s former finance director, whose name was not mentioned, for instructing the Salary Services Bureau to cease deductions of the outstanding allowances from the debtors’ salaries.-AMH