New Zimbabwe.com

Govt to audit Covid-19 donations but few doubt its seriousness

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By Anna Chibamu


AUDITOR General (AG) Mildred Chari is set to audit all Covid-19 donations made to the country by local and international groups as well as other well-wishers towards the country’s efforts to fight the pandemic.

Information ministry secretary Nick Mangwana said Wednesday this was being done in pursuit of transparency and accountability by authorities.

“In pursuit of a transparent and accountable government, the auditor general will carry out a systems audit in respect of donations received towards the curbing of the spread of Covid-19,” Mangwana wrote on his twitter handle.

However, this remarks invited angry comments by twitter users who felt this was a waste of time as similar audits that have unearthed massive fraud before have yielded nothing by way of punishing the culprits.

They cited previous cases in which the AG has reported on the continued looting of public entities by well-connected individuals with authorities failing to act.

One Brian Tatenda Mangwende wrote, “What has been done on previous recommendations from Auditor General, a lot of issues were identified in state owned entities but no convictions. So what is the point wasting more resources carrying out systems audits when no action will be taken thereafter?”

Takarwa Nhondo also said, “This is good, but equally good is to create a system or procedures governing the recording, storage and distribution of donations. I would suggest that there be public disclosure on all this information. An audit is good but the creation of systems is better.”

A Moses Tofa said, “Our greatest tragedy as a nation and a people is to have these empty heads in leadership positions. Extracting pride from auditing donations when our natural resources are being looted?”

Mangwana differed with some of the responses saying government has acted on all the recommendations that had been brought forward by the AG.

“There is never a point where somebody has been accused of stealing and government failed to act,” he said in a later interview with NewZimbabwe.com.

“There is no place where a system was said to be weak and government has not taken action,” Mangwana said.

He added, “An audit is not an investigation. It looks at weaknesses in a financial system.

“It also looks at the integrity of a financial system. The Auditor General points out weaknesses of financial systems in ministries rather than any acts of theft.

“Audits are done through sampling and not going through every transaction. All cases that people complain about such as the ZINARA and NSSA-Prisca Mupfumira cases, that were cited, people were arrested.”

The systems audit comes amid reported thefts on some Covid-19 equipment and accessories donated.

Government ordered a thorough investigation at its pharmaceutical company NatPharm recently where massive malpractices have been going on even before the outbreak of Covid-19 this year.