By Leopold Munhende, Chief Correspondent
THE new Zimbabwe National Roads Authority (ZINARA) board has scrapped controversial gym, hairstyle and holiday allowances which were being paid by the administrator to their predecessors, chairperson George Manyaya has told parliament.
Manyaya revealed that the new board had done away with Precious Murove, among many other unqualified directors, in office without relevant qualifications.
Murove was appointed director administration and human resources of the national roads administrator despite only possessing a diploma in Biblical Studies and a Stores Management certificate.
He said this while presenting ZINARA’s transformation journey at a workshop on progress made in the fight against corruption, facilitated by parliament and funded by the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC) in Bulawayo.
Parliament unearthed massive corruption at ZINARA in 2019, with board members, illegally rewarding themselves handsomely during their tenure.
The board approved for itself expensive trips to resort Victoria Falls, gym allowances worth US$4 000 each, top of the range ipads without approval from their relevant ministry, while raking a US$24 500 bill in hairdos for its female members, in two years.
Another US$55 700 was paid to OK Mart for their Christmas groceries, with each member getting a US$9 600 hamper as part of the loot-it-all type of management that was revealed by parliament’s public accounts committee (PAC).
Manyaya revealed that the new board had reviewed its controversial agreements with Intertoll, DBSA, Infralink and Univern whose commissions were questionable high even after last year’s engagements.
“We have new qualified, experienced and an ethical board with new executive managers. There was also realignment of the statutory mandate and introduction of of consequence management systems where various employees were dismissed through disciplinary hearings and some are actually being dismissed,” said Manyaya.
“Yesteryear ZINARA was not conducting any AGM but we did that and presented all our financial statements. In 2020 we established our first procurement and risk control departments. We engaged a human resources consultant and initiated the restructuring of ZINARA.
“We received recommendations to review contracts which were topical in the forensic audit, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) contract, the Infralink and Univern contracts.
“In the case of unfavourable contracts with DBSA, Intertoll and Univern, we have reviewed all those and we have signed with DBSA. A few weeks ago we reviewed the Univern one as it had no stop but we have agreed and it will end in 2025.
“We conducted financial audits for road authorities, which is a continuous.
“Disbursements of funds have always been topical, with people saying ZINARA is not doing anything, as a result we now have press conferences to publicise how much we have, how much we have disbursed so as people know whether it is enough or not.”
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ZINARA has been actively involved in rehabilitation of roads across the country following President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s proclamation they were now a state of disaster.
Already, ZW$8 billion has been disbursed to local authorities for road rehabilitation and construction.
Added Manyaya: “We also continuously conducting our skills audit. We now have a diversified skill base.
“There were allegations of unqualified people, through nepotism and now I can safely tell you that all positions are advertised in adherence to minimum specifications. Our new a Chevening alumni.
“We are verifying certificates, we have approached the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) and have identified those who were using fake certificates, we have had to dismiss them.
“We are no longer taking care of anyone’s hair, those allowances are no longer paid, we are no longer issuing those Christmas allowances as was the case before.”
ZINARA is now paying allowances based on corporate governance unit (CGU) categorisation which is currently 10.
PAC chairperson and Gweru legislator Brian Dube, applauded ZINARA for its turnaround, noting it had managed to rid itself of its bad boy tag.
“We must commend the new ZINARA board for this, it is important and appreciated when you see a state owned entity that had a bad boy tag coming back to members of the house and giving us feedback on what they have done as per our recommendations,” said Dube.
“This is the culture that we need, we hope ZESA and other guys come forward and tell us where they are because we had so many children in that state, this is applauded.”