MDC treasurer general David Coltart on Saturday dismissed as “false and baseless” a newspaper report claiming $2 million is missing from the opposition party’s bank account.
Coltart, voted in as treasurer general in May last year, said the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper’s headline story “appears to be yet another attempt to discredit the MDC generally and its party leader and secretary general.”
The Independent, citing one Edwin Dzambara who is described as the chairman of an outfit calling itself Defending Morgan Tsvangirai Legacy (DMTL), led with a front page story claiming: ‘MDC heavies bay for Chamisa’s blood.’
Dzambara told the paper that he had approached Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi seeking details of money disbursed to the party by the government under the Political Parties (Finance) Act, “to compare if what the party got tallies with the programmes and events which the party undertook.”
Coltart said the Independent article was designed to malign party leader Nelson Chamisa and secretary general Charlton Hwende.
“As I have made clear to a variety of journalists in the last few weeks since this false story first emerged, I am not aware of any money which has been misappropriated from MDC coffers by any official or party leader,” Coltart said in a statement.
“President Chamisa is not even a signatory to our banking account and so it is impossible for him to have misappropriated money.”
Ziyambi confirmed Dzambara had contacted his office, but said the information he was looking for was public knowledge.
“Yes, they came and made an inquiry, but we told them that the information they want was published in the Government Gazette and they can check it out for themselves rather than bothering us,” the minister said.
The MDC received RTGS$3,4 million late last year as its entitlement under the Political Parties (Finance) Act based on its share of the vote from the last election in July 2018.
The MDC recently instituted an internal audit into its finances, which Coltart said was the first since the party was formed in 1999, and the first by any political party in Zimbabwe.
Here is Coltart’s statement in full:
The Zimbabwe Independent’s headline alleging the misappropriation of ZW$ 2 million is false, baseless and appears to be yet another attempt to discredit the MDC generally and its Party Leader and Secretary General.
As I have made clear to a variety of journalists in the last few weeks since this false story first emerged I am not aware of any money which has been misappropriated from MDC coffers by any official or party leader.
Since taking office as MDC Treasurer General last May I have implemented a variety of new measures to make the MDC accounting systems as transparent and orderly as possible.
These systems have included a strict banking culture and an agreement that our annual accounts will be subjected to an internal audit. President Chamisa is not even a signatory to our banking account and so it is impossible for him to have misappropriated money. All of these measures have been wholeheartedly backed by President Chamisa.
Whilst our first audit for the financial year ended 31st December 2019 has not been done yet I have encountered no resistance to it from any quarter within the senior leadership of the MDC. The attempts by some to portray the audit as some kind of investigation into alleged impropriety are misleading and utterly false.
The audit was agreed to last year and is a routine audit. I should also point out that this is the first time the MDC has conducted an audit of this nature and it is the first time any political party in Zimbabwe has ever subjected itself to an audit.
In all the circumstances the report in the Zimbabwe Independent is clearly designed to impugn the credibility and integrity of MDC President Nelson Chamisa, the Secretary Chalton Hwende and the MDC.
The Zimbabwean public need to be assured that our goal within the MDC is that it meets the highest international standards of accountability and transparency, which in turn will demonstrate that the MDC is competent to govern Zimbabwe as a whole.