By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
10 March 2014
The Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana will not file any criminal charges against parastatal heads that were paying themselves hefty salaries and perks.
This move has been roundly condemned by the opposition MDC-T, with one of its MPs, Settlement Chikwinya, describing it as a ‘game of protection’ by Tomana.
Tomana said the CEO’s, who received gross overcompensation for poor performance, had not broken any law in the country. Questions however will be asked if the heads paid any tax to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
The salary-gate involves a number of cabinet ministers, parastatal bosses and senior government officials. The scandal first broke out when it was revealed that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) suspended chief executive officer, Happison Muchechetere, was reportedly earning over US$44,000 per month in salaries and allowances.
His three general managers, Elliot Kasu, Tazzen Mandizvidza and Allan Chiweshe, were each reportedly taking home over US$26,000 every month. Former Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) boss, Cuthbert Dube, was said to earn US$500 000 a month in salary and allowances, while Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi, and other council executives, were earning around US$37,000 at a time when the municipality was failing to pay workers and provide essential services
In an interview over the weekend, Tomana said while there may be questions on the morality of the remuneration, law enforcement agents could not act because there was no statute which regulates incomes or prices in Zimbabwe.
‘Unfortunately, morals are not laws. Morals can be raw materials that enable you to have certain laws. When a moral pinches you enough it can be raised into a law, but that has not happened.
‘In this case, you ask yourself: what has been violated when there is no regulation or law which controls prices and salaries? There is no law which stops people from earning too much. In court they know we cannot punish people for not breaking the law,’ Tomana said.
However the MDC-T legislator for Mbizo begged to differ with Tomana, saying the parastatal bosses were guilty of a breach of abuse of authority for self-enrichment.
‘When the CEO’s and parastatal board chairmen signed these perks, they were abusing their positions to steal public money. Tomana, being ZANU P,F found it unattainable to prosecute appointees from ZANU PF,’ charged Chikwinya.