Mliswa urges economic justice NGO to pressure parliament to act on graft

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By Costa Nkomo

NORTON legislator Temba Mliswa has urged social and economic justice NGO, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) to approach parliament with a petition aimed at forcing cabinet ministers to follow through on recommendations by the Auditor General’s report.

The Auditor General, Mildred Chiri’s report released last month, exposed massive corruption in both government entities and parastatals.

Despite a lot of information put forward by the AG, there has not been any arrests or suspensions on any of those implicated in the report.

Speaking at a ZIMCODD panel discussion that sought to review the report, Mliswa told the NGO to reach out to national assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda with a petition demanding accountability on the use of state resources by government.

“I still believe if you petition parliament, I said it last time and say Mr Speaker sir, there are public audited reports which involve your parliament to ensure that they are implemented, why are they not being implemented?” Mliswa said.

He added, “I think ZIMCODD is critical in pushing this agenda and the Speaker must respond. He has no choice but to respond because really, we must not be sitting with some of the people in parliament who are ministers.

“They have not adhered to the recommendations or implemented the recommendations of the Auditor General’s office, so they are in contempt.

“I think the legal term is that these ministers are approaching parliament with dirty hands because they have not implemented the recommendations, parliamentary recommendations and the Auditor General’s report.”

But ZIMCODD social economic analyst Tafadzwa Chikumbu said parliament has since become a toothless institution which has been failing to answer public finance accountability questions from the public year in, year out.

“When I look at parliament, I don’t see the teeth. The teeth are not there and literally when someone does not have teeth, it means that person cannot talk.”

The Auditor General’s report has opened a can of worms as it exposed massive corruption in government ministries and parastatals.

Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has not accounted for 600 000 litres of fuel, while Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has also failed to balance its financial books with billions being lost through government’s much-vaunted command agriculture programme.

Speaking at the same occasion, one of the eight newly appointed Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commissioner Commissioners John Makamure assured ZIMCODD the anti-graft body will collaborate with all relevant stakeholders and the citizens to launch a concerted effort in the fight the scourge of corruption.

Makamure said: “This fight is not only for a certain institution to pursue; this must be a citizens’ fight.

“That’s why I said that there is need for ZACC to collaborate more with other stakeholders and agencies.”