By Paidashe Mandivengerei
Money siphoned from government institutions through corruption was enough to cater for Zimbabwe’s humanitarian aid appeal and more, the European Union has said.
This comes after government recently reviewed upwards its budget for humanitarian support adding over US$100 million to the initial US$331.5 million.
Speaking to a local radio station on Tuesday, EU head of delegation, Timo Olkonnen stated that corruption had more devastating effects when compared to sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, a narrative President Mnangagwa’s administration has since rejected.
“Corruption has a huge effect, people talking about hundreds of millions or even billions in terms of the Auditor General’s report and then you imagine that you have a humanitarian appeal for Zimbabwe for a couple hundred millions.
“Basically, that’s just a part of what is assumed to be stolen.
“It could have covered those needs for the humanitarian appeal. So I think the effect has been devastating for the economy,” he said.
In response to whether it was sanctions or graft that weighed down the economy, Olkonnen remarked, “there is no doubt about, it is corruption of course.”
The 2018 Auditor General Report unearthed massive looting within government owned companies.
According to Mildred Chiri, huge amounts of money were siphoned through abuse of power and fraud in parastatals and public institutions including power utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), Air Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and government schemes like Command Agriculture.
At a meeting held by the United Nations Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) in New York last Thursday to update member states on Zimbabwe’s humanitarian situation, Local Government, July Moyo said the initial amount was inadequate due to increasing numbers of food insecure citizens.
While government requires US$464 million from donor aid, it has failed to account for close to US$3 billion paid out through its Command Agriculture scheme.