By Anna Chibamu
FORMER Agriculture and Mechanisation minister Joseph Made has been implicated in a ministry scandal by a former subordinate who told parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that he personally distributed equipment worth US$15 million which was a donation to the government of Zimbabwe from China.
After being grilled by the committee members, Robson Gumbo, a Director in the ministry told the Tendai Biti-led Committee that made personalised the loan which was in the form of agricultural equipment and bicycles which Made allegedly distributed without Treasury approval to unknown beneficiaries.
As Lands Ministry officials gave oral evidence on the 2017-18 Auditor General’s reports on Friday, Biti questioned why “the country’s donation was distributed without approval from the Ministry of Finance”.
Gumbo made a U-turn, telling the committee members that Made had authority to distribute the equipment.
“It is a grant to the Republic of Zimbabwe and the State has a methodology of distributing its own Assets,” said Biti.
After being further quizzed, Gumbo later exposed Made and admitted the equipment was distributed at a much higher level.
Biti said, “So ndiMade akaita izvi? (So Made did this?)”
Gumbo responded, “Yes it was the former minister who did the distribution but we just saw it on television and no paperwork was given to us until the Auditor General revealed the anomaly.”
The ministry officials however, blamed the Finance ministry for most of the anomalies which Auditor general Mildred Chiri mentioned in her reports.
Another Director, Conrad Zawe reported that the tendering system by the Finance ministry was taking too long resulting in delays in the running of the projects as well as the fact that it had not agreed to the lands ministry concessions brought to its attention.
Biti said his committee would soon summon Finance Ministry officials to answer to some of the allegations which had been mentioned.
The Lands ministry directors during the hearing argued over the issue of names for contracted companies’ owners.
Zawe refused to name the owner of Solutions Centre, a car dealer contracted to supply vehicles to the ministry but was paid over half a million US dollars for the job.