Harare –Self-exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education , Science and Technology Development minister Jonathan Moyo who faced allegations of abuse of power by outright looting of Zimbabwe Manpower For Development (ZIMDEF) funds to the tune of $430 000, has also been accused of splashing $10 000 on high -end cellphones as gifts for his aides and drivers.
According to a report for the financial year ended December 31 2017 by the Auditor General (AG) Mildred Chiri, Moyo used his position as the then trustee of ZIMDEF to go on a cellphone shopping spree for his aides, spending $10 450 on 10 high end phones.
The AG further alleged that the ministry also may have paid an amount of $1 475 229 to several companies for services not rendered using ZIMDEF funds.
Chiri said the fund was for the development of skilled manpower in Zimbabwe.
“According to Section 47 paragraph 2 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28: 02), the objective of the fund was for the development of skilled manpower in Zimbabwe.
“However, I noted that there were payments made from the fund through the line item contingencies for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development which were outside the mandate of the fund.
“ZIMDEF purchased 10 Samsung Galaxy S7 edge cellphone handsets worth $10 450 as gifts for the minister’s aides and drivers.
“The procurement was done citing section 48 of the Manpower Planning and Development Act which says “Minister may, in his capacity as trustee of the fund, do any or all of the following, (d) pay to his employees such salary, wages or other remuneration as he may with the approval of the minister responsible for finance; (e) make his employees such gifts , bonuses or the like as he thinks.”
“The beneficiaries were not ZIMDEF employees and there was no approval from the ministry of finance,” the report revealed.
The purchase of these luxurious gifts was not in line with the mandate of the fund.
“Furthermore, the purchase was not inline with the mandate of the fund which is to finance the development of critical and highly skilled manpower in Zimbabwe.
“ZIMDEF paid a number of suppliers for services rendered for STEM. However, there was no evidence to support that the procurement procedures were followed since the directive to pay these suppliers was from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education.
“An amount totalling $1,475,229 was paid to Troika Design, AB Communications, Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Mortake Management Services, Fuzzy Technologies, Seven Bridges and Tsholotsho RDC.
“Payments may have been made for services not rendered or for services which were not for the benefit of the fund.
“All stamped payments were directives to pay invoices without at least three competitive quotations and comparative schedules in line with procurement regulations,” the report revealed.
The report further revealed that the colleges were no longer getting funds for equipment.
“Visits to polytechnics revealed that the colleges were no longer getting funds for equipment (last received in 2015), consumables (2016) and the Bachelor of Technology allowances for three months were not yet received at Kwekwe Polytechnic by end of March 2017. The lectures were more of theory than practical due to non-availability of consumables,” noted Chiri.
Meanwhile, Moyo is on record for defending himself on the ZIMDEF funds looting allegations. He likened himself to fictional character Robin Hood who robbed the rich to give to the poor.
Ironically, as Chiri also noted, the funds were meant for the development of polytechnics and provide for research, planning and development of human resources as outlined in the Manpower Planning and Development Act (Chapter 28:02).
His former deputy Godfrey Gandawa is on the run and a warrant of arrest was issued for absconding court where he is facing charges of misuse of public funds .
His company Fuzzy Technologies was paid using ZIMDEF funds for ghost supplies of Information Technology equipment.