ZimParks on verge of bankruptcy as board members purchase cellphones, laptops

0
217
The situation has been compounded by financial loss due to unauthorised expenditure that includes board members being paid sitting allowances at astronomical rates to those gazetted by government.
The situation has been compounded by financial loss due to unauthorised expenditure that includes board members being paid sitting allowances at astronomical rates to those gazetted by government.

Harare – AN AUDIT into Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife (ZimParks) has revealed the empire is in a mess, with the authority severely mismanaged and on the brink of bankruptcy, the Mail and Telegraph has learnt.

This comes as ZimParks incurred a loss after tax of $6 million as at December 2016.

The situation has been compounded by financial loss due to unauthorised expenditure that includes board members being paid sitting allowances at astronomical rates to those gazetted by government.

“I draw your attention to the fact that the authority incurred a loss after tax of $6 324 755 as at December 31, 2016 and the authority had a net current liability position of $3 072 806. These conditions indicate the existence of material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the authority’s ability to continue as a going concern,” Auditor-General Mildred Chiri said in her latest report for the financial year ended December 31, 2017.

The report tabled in Parliament last week further indicates that the ZimParks board composition did not comply with the Parks and Wildlife Act as it did not comprise of experts in legal, finance and business management areas leaving the board’s oversight role in these areas compromised.

“I noticed instances where the board were paid sitting fees at the rate of $202 instead of $152 per board member, $320 instead of $160 for the vice chairperson and $350 instead of $170 for the board chairperson,” Chiri said.

Chiri noted that at least $5 760 was used for purchase of cellphones for board members without knowledge of the parent ministry and $11 290 on laptops.

“The authority also purchased laptops and cellphones for board members and there was no evidence to support that the parent ministry authorised the allocation of these assets,” Chiri noted.

In defence, ZimParks said they would investigate but added that laptops and cellphones were not obtained for solely personal use as is being pointed out but for official use by board members.

Chiri also raised alarm over tax holiday allowances which the authority’s directors were benefiting from.

“The authority’s directors were paid holiday allowances which were not subjected to tax as provided for by the Income Tax Act,” Chiri said, adding that this exposed ZimParks to financial loss due to potential penalties and fines that may be levied by the tax authority.