By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
27 February 2014
Commissioners at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) have ironically been accused of being corrupt themselves, after it was revealed that their term of office expired in August last year but they were still receiving salaries and spending a fortune hiring government cars.
According to the state-run Herald newspaper, only one of the nine commissioners, Chairperson Denford Chirindo, is still legally employed by the anti-graft body after their statutory two-year term expired on August 31st.
This means commissioners have done no work for nearly six months, while collecting salaries. The Herald said almost $457,000 was owed to the CMED for vehicles hired by commissioners as of mid-December, 2013.
The Salary Services Bureau (SSB) had actually stopped paying the commissioners when their term of office ended. But they were directed to continue payments by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Melusi Matshiya, who reportedly insisted the commissioners’ term had been extended.
The Herald said Matshiya has even ignored letters from Chairperson Denford Chirindo, pleading with him to urgently make the legalities of the situation clear, to be careful not to waste public funds and “avoid financial misconduct as defined by the Public Finance Management Act”.
Matshiya was also warned by Chirindo in writing about the growing bill for hired vehicles. In a letter dated 13th December 2013, Chirindo advised the Home Affairs secretary that the CMED had threatened to cut off hire services for commissioners unless bills were paid.
“Please note that this happened at a time the commission had no fuel for operations or for staff to move from point A to point B and staff were working half a day because the commission had no money to purchase a borehole pump and commission toilets were dysfunctional,” Chirindo wrote.
Casper Takura, former councillor for Mabvuku/Tafara, described the development as “ridiculous”, saying it is unfortunate that those who are supposed to monitor corruption are engaging in the same acts with impunity.
“So the question becomes who is now going to police the police, especially when the police are engaging in bad behaviour. This greed has engulfed the whole country and it is a shame because it involves those at the top who should be monitoring what is happening,” Takura told SW Radio Africa.
The former Councillor pointed to the recent exposure of exorbitant salaries that were being paid to senior staff at the Harare City Council, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services (ZBC), the Premier Medical Aid Society (PMAS) and other parastatals that are in debt.
“The major problem is that of accountability. There is no-one holding these people to account and only when the people demand that they account for their actions will this come to an end.”