PARLIAMENT has summoned Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo to explain allegations that he and his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa siphoned nearly than half a million dollars from Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) allegedly to strengthen their social ties in their respective constituencies at the expense of the intended beneficiaries.
Prof Moyo is Tsholotsho North legislator, while Dr Gandawa is Magunje lawmaker.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment yesterday resolved to summon Prof Moyo, Zimdef chief executive officer Mr Fredrick Mandizvidza and the Zimbabwe Youth Council as part of its oversight role to enquire into allegations of financial impropriety, which could have prejudiced the entity of nearly $500 000.
Committee chairperson and Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) yesterday.
“The committee met today (yesterday) and resolved to first call the Zimbabwe Youth Council to explain the circumstances surrounding the 100 000 litres of fuel they got from Zimdef. They will appear before the committee next Thursday. A committee resolution was also made that the responsible minister be invited the following week together with the Zimdef chief executive officer,” said Cde Wadyajena.
“The committee’s major focus is on the Zimdef aspect. This is not a witch-hunt, but it is an ordinary meeting as part of the committee’s oversight role. The committee wants to know what transpired in the context of the mandate of Zimdef. We have invited the minister as the one responsible for the policy direction of the ministry. After receiving all the evidence, we will then table a report before Parliament for debate.”
According to information at hand, Prof Moyo, Dr Gandawa, Mr Mandizvidza and Zimdef principal director (finance) Mr Nicholas Mapute could have unlawfully benefited from $430 000 of the State enterprise’s money between November 2015 and June 2016.
Prof Moyo, recently drew the ire of students and employers after he likened himself to Robin Hood, a legendary outlaw in English folklore who would steal from the rich to give to the poor.
Defending the use of Zimdef funds to buy bicycles for his constituency, Prof Moyo said, “the state of underdevelopment in Tsholotsho is such that bicycles are a necessity just like matches!”
According to information at hand, $95 800 was transferred from Zimdef to Wisebone Trading through CABS.
Dr Gandawa received $20 000 through his personal Barclays Bank account after which he transferred $19 030 to HIB Rajput PL T/A Ace Cycles for 173 bicycles for Prof Moyo.
Dr Gandawa then transferred $27 550 to SKM Motorcycles for 10 three-wheelers for Prof Moyo and the balance was withdrawn in cash. $107 525 was transferred from Zimdef to Fuzzy Technologies’ NMB Bank account, of which $5 745 was transferred to Pridham Investments for Dr Gandawa’s personal furniture.
Dr Gandawa also paid for 69 bicycles worth $7 260 for Prof Moyo.
He also transferred $12 900 to Wisebone Trading as capital to finance his personal business and the remainder was withdrawn in cash.
The documents further indicate that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating a separate case in which Prof Moyo and Dr Gandawa are suspected of getting Zimdef to release 100 000 litres of diesel worth $118 500, fuel which was then diverted to the black market.
It is alleged the fuel was requested by the Zimbabwe Youth Council on July 26 for a “skills gap assessment programme”. Dr Gandawa recommended the allocation and Prof Moyo gave his approval on August 4, 2016.
Students’ representatives have since roundly scoffed at Prof Moyo’s that he was akin to Robin Hood, saying unlike the British folklore outlaw legend, the funds he abused were meant for poor students.
College lecturers weighed in, saying politicians should not be allowed to funnel public funds to fund activities in their constituencies.
Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Unions president Tonderai Chidawa, said Prof Moyo was nowhere near Robin Hood as he was stealing from poorstudents and should be made to answer for his actions with the Zimbabwe National Students Union spokesperson Zivai Mhetu addingby likening himself to Robin Hood, Prof Moyo was giving the impression that Government, where the funds were coming from, was rich.
College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Nixon Madovi, said if Prof Moyo wanted to please his constituents, he had to look for other avenues other than Zimdef funds.
ZACC is investigating other alleged abuses of Zimdef funds by Prof Moyo, his deputy and three subordinates.The five are being investigated for five charges of fraud as defined in Section 136 of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23), and three charges under the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (Chapter 9:24).