Saturday, June 16, 2018

Zinara forensic audit stirs hornet’s nest

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A ROW has erupted among board members at the Zimbabwe Roads Administration Authority (Zinara) with acting chairperson Wilfred Ramwi under fire over a shadowy investigation into a forensic audit by a reputed firm.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
Ramwi and Transport ministry secretary George Mlilo this week seemed to throw barbs at each other over the issue.
The Zinara boss claimed the investigation which sources said was unprecedented had been instigated by the parent ministry, but Mlilo accused Ramwi of lacking “knowledge”.
“It is the ministry that directed that an investigation be done on the audit report. It is the ministry’s baby, not ours, you can get in touch with them,” Ramwi said.
Asked about allegations levelled against him of unprofessional conduct, the Zinara board chairperson denied the claims.
“We have a board made up of professionals who speak their minds. We work very well and debate issues as they come in the most professional way. I don’t know what you are talking about,” he said.
Mlilo said he was not aware of any forensic investigations at Zinara in the aftermath of the audit.
“We commission an audit which was done and we received the report. The ministry was not happy with some of the issues raised. So we have since asked the board to take action on issues raised in the audit,” he said.
Asked if the investigation was a sign that the ministry had no confidence in the audit report for which money was paid to external auditors, Mlilo insisted no forensic audit had been ordered by government.
“We discussed the audit report with the board and it is from this that they have put together a program of action. We never doubted the audit report and that is why we are working with it.
“Maybe he (Ramwi) lacks understanding,” the senior bureaucrat said.
However, NewsDay Weekender is reliably informed that indeed a forensic investigation had been carried out and a report submitted to government in October last year.
Zinara was last year rocked by the suspensions of four top officials − finance director Precious Murove, Simon Taranhike, Peter Boterere and Shadreck Mutenganebadza − on allegations of corruption and other misconduct.
However, there have been moves to drop the cases on the argument that a drawn-out labour dispute could dent the parastatal’s image.
A disciplinary committee headed by retired Judge Selo Nare was appointed, but the board has since ordered that the top officials return to work.