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ZEC fails to pay $4.5m elections debt

03/03/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Election debts still not paid ... ZEC chief Justice Rita Makarau
 
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THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has failed to pay government transport agency CMED $4.5 million for services rendered during last year’s elections, Parliament was told Monday.

The parliamentary portfolio committee on transport and Infrastructure Development headed by Epworth legislator Amos Midzi heard that CMED had resorted to off-setting government debt with its tax obligations.

“We hired out vehicles to the ZEC during the harmonised elections and we are owed $4.5 million,” a CMED managing director Davison Mhaka told the committee.

“They (ZEC) have failed to pay and we have approached them to no avail. In fact we are told they have also approached treasury but there is just not enough money going around because of the liquidity crunch.”

Mhaka said about $1 million of the obligations was money owed to private transport service providers who helped during the elections.

“The most worrying thing is that $1 million of this money belongs to the public in the form of sub-contractors who also provided transport services,” he said.

“We ended up paying some of these people from our own resources but some people from provinces such as Mashonaland East, Matebeleland South, Manicaland, and Mashonaland West are still owed.”

The CMED chief added that government was another culprit after the State failed to pay for transport services provided during the referendum in March last year.

“We have a challenge on non-payment of services rendered. Government has not paid $745,000 for transport services offered during the referendum,” said Mhaka.

He added that CMED was also working with government to find other ways of off-setting the debt but it “is difficult given our national situation”.

The period leading up to the elections was characterised by a spat among the coalition partners over funding for the key vote, eventually won by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.

Then Finance Minister and MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti and his Justice counterpart Patrick Chinamasa of Zanu PF rowed over the issue with Biti saying the government did not have cash for the vote and urging support from international development partners.

But Chinamasa, fronting a hawkish group inside Zanu PF, was against external funding after some donors attached strict pre-conditions for any support.



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Zimbabwe needed at least $130 million to run a smooth election but was, for months, shy of the target by about $90 million which Chinamasa produced a week before the polls without explanation.


 
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