- Published: 22 January 2015
- Written by The Zimbabwean
The abandoned Zimdollar continues to haunt government's financial management, with Auditor General Mildred Chiri revealing that the ministry of finance cannot account for investments made before 2009.
Use of the Zimdollar stopped in early 2009 because of hyperinflation. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has ruled out a speedy return to the local currency even though it introduced bond coins late last year to solve the small change crisis.
In her report for 2013, the AG noted that the finance ministry had failed to convert unspecified investments worth over half a billion Zimdollars. The ministry had also omitted these investments from the treasury statement for the period under review.
It said failure to disclose the investments affected the accuracy and completeness of the accounts, a trend that could lead to incorrect decisions being made regarding public assets.
"The ministry must engage share transfer secretaries to get the shares converted to US dollars," says the report.
Thousands of depositors lost millions of dollars when Zimbabwe migrated from the valueless local currency to foreign currency. Government has indicated that it is not possible to find a sustainable conversion rate as the country was affected by hyperinflation.
Disputes have also arisen between employers and workers seeking compensation on contracts covering periods that preceded the adoption of foreign currencies.
The report also pointed out numerous financial management problems in the finance ministry and other departments and described the summary of transactions of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as "unreliable and "inaccurate".
The report also slammed the clerk of Parliament for failing to recover foreign travel advances within 30 days as required by regulations. "There is a risk that Parliament may fail to recover the advances if they remain outstanding for a long period. Also, non-recovery of the advances deprives funding of other operations," said Chiri.
She noted that Parliament paid airtime in excess of the limits, in violation of Treasury Circular Number 1 of 2010 and the Cabinet Circular Number 9 of 2010 which provide limits for various employee grades.
The AG indicated that Parliament could have violated tendering procedures by contracting only one furniture supplier, Adam Bede, without notifying the State Procurement Board (SPB) as required by Section 3 of the Statutory Instrument 171 of 2002.
The public service, labour and social welfare ministry was not spared, with the report showing that it provided information indicating that it received revenue amounting to about $100,000 from rentals and other sources yet it did not maintain a register of properties it owned, the tenants and rentals paid.
The ministry of industry and commerce got the rap for advancing loans to the Zimbabwe Steel Company (Zisco) amounting to $7,761,905 and the Industrial Development Corporation ($4,896,426) yet no loan agreements were signed.