By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
03 February 2014
Senior ZANU PF officials were the major beneficiaries of the farm mechanisation scheme which was supposed to assist new farmers.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe launched the scheme in 2007 to help the country’s newly-resettled farmers with farm implements on a rent-to-buy basis.
But the scheme – one of controversial ex-central bank boss Gideon Gono’s quasi-fiscal activities – turned out to be another avenue through which ZANU PF gurus received free implements such as tractors, planters, harrows and combine harvesters.
A Monday report in the privately-run NewsDay newspaper says more than 100 public officials linked to ZANU PF in Mashonaland East received equipment worth millions of Zim dollars between 2007 and 2008.
Some notable names on the list include the late ex-agric Minister Kumbirai Kangai, Higher Education Minister Olivia Muchena, Harare province official Noah Mangondo, ex-Chitungwiza Mayor Joseph Macheka, Chikomba East legislator Edgar Mbwembwe and the late David Karimanzira.
Justice Paddington Garwe received $3.5 million, ex-mayor Macheka $7.8 million, and Sithembile Makamba $178 million.
The latest list was reportedly leaked by central bank officials after a parliamentary portfolio committee on public accounts demanded to know the details of the beneficiaries.
Last year, ex-governor Gono refused to reveal the names of those who had benefitted from the US$200 million scheme when challenged by legislators.
Gono however said the scheme had contributed to the Reserve Bank’s $1 billion debt, after chiefs and politicians failed to pay for the equipment.
A loan facility launched by the parastatal the Grain Marketing Board in 2012, and meant to help new farmers with inputs such as seed, fertilizers and chemicals, has been similarly looted by ZANU PF officials.
Also looted by senior ZANU PF politicians has been the youth empowerment fund launched two years ago by the youth ministry and partly-funded by investment firm Old Mutual.
In the health sector, hospital executives have been accused of flouting tender procedures in exchange for kick-backs, among other fraudulent activities.
The dodgy hospital deals have so far cost the government at least $5 million, according to the State-run Sunday Mail newspaper.
Officials at major health institutions Parirenyatwa, Harare Central, Mpilo, Ingutsheni, United Bulawayo Hospitals, Chitungwiza, Masvingo and Mutare Provincial were involved.
The scam was uncovered during an audit into hospitals’ tendering processes and how these institutions had used millions of dollars received from Treasury to finance the ailing health sector.
The probe team found evidence that tender procedures were flouted, “prices inflated and the whole process was laden with corrupt activities resulting in government losing millions of dollars.”
At Harare Hospital, a public works project which should have cost $118,203 was inflated to $270,134. At Bulawayo’s Mpilo Hospital two senior officials inflated the cost of a heat extractor from R48,000 to R248,000.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya says these corruption dossiers are nothing new because greed has been part of the ZANU PF since 1980.
“Corruption is endemic in ZANU PF,” Ngwenya said.
“These scandals started in the 1980s when we had the Pawenis and the Willowgate (motor) scandal, the Grain Marketing Board scandal.
“If ZANU PF President Robert Mugabe was ever serious about ending corruption, he wouldn’t have abandoned his 1980s leadership code which was aimed at stamping out corruption,” Ngwenya added.
Ngwenya said it will take another generation of leaders to eradicate the rot that has taken root in government enterprises because ZANU PF can never be expected to act against itself.
He added that even where there is evidence of corruption and fraud, executives at parastatals will not be reprimanded because most of them were appointees put in these bodies to facilitate looting by ZANU PF officials.
“That is why these guys have been defiant. State broadcaster boss Happison Muchechetere said ‘so what’ when reports of serious maladministration emerged.
“Cuthbert Dube is refusing to go (from medical aid society PSMAS) and now Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi has been reinstated.
“These are official representatives of ZANU PF in these institutions and no action will be taken against them.”
Despite the existence of an anti-corruption commission in the country, Ngwenya said there was little hope that the body can function effectively in the country.
“Because of the cronyism that pervades the justice system in the country, the commission will not be allowed to do its work as we saw recently when the watchdog tried to probe mining sector corruption,” Ngwenya added.