By Anna Chibamu
ZIMBABWE National Roads Administration (Zinara) employees allegedly awarded themselves huge salary perks and benefits in violation of statutory requirements, that prohibits adjustments of more than 2.5 percent structured payments on wages.
This came out after Zinara management appeared before the Public Accounts Portfolio Committee on Monday. Committee chairperson and Harare East MP Tendai Biti had asked for a structure of Zanara’s wage bill and monthly percentage to both management and employees.
Biti said Zinara management flouted a statutory requirement by about 7.5, 10 and 11 percent.
Zinara has a total staff complement of 638 and in January alone, an amount totaling RTGS$897 354,51 was paid as salaries and wages.
“There were amazing (extra ordinary) perks and benefits, that you have been awarding yourselves as Zinara employees which you have not been acknowledging as payment for purposes of taxation. We see huge amounts of allowances on that wage bill.
“I suspect that if you take away the allowances and probably comply with that 2.5 percent, once you put the allowances, it becomes a very dangerous wage bill,” Biti argued, adding that all the questions and leads had come from the government instituted audit report..
The committee also revealed that the Zinara management also flouted tender procedures, making payments for special projects, some of which never took place.
It also came to light that the roads administrator had been making payments of up to RTGS$29 million per year for software which was not really functioning and needed to be upgraded.
“Zinara has no authority to engage on special projects. We are now aware that Zinara has spent RTGS$71 million on special projects without going to tender,” said Biti.
However, acting chief executive officer Mathlene Mujokoro refuted some of the allegations but acknowledged incompetence in some instances.
“We have taken note of the objections by the committee. We, however, want to put it clear that we still have special projects, but these are being done through the ministry,” Mujokoro said.
Biti identified some of the companies that had been paid in advance from whom nothing was delivered, among them Twalumba Holdings which had been paid for jobs in Bindura and Binga as well as one company by the name Bardon paid in advance for Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) work which never took off.
“There is looting under this creature called special projects,” added Biti.
According to Biti, the level of corruption at Zinara “points to someone of huge influence pulling the strings” to such an extent that the bosses at the organisation were merely figureheads without any knowledge of how the parastatal was being run.