By Immigration Maziwisa
In the last few weeks, the media has been awash with accusations that Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, abused funds meant for ZIMDEF, (Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund).
The accusations are that about $430 000 was allegedly siphoned by Professor Moyo from ZIMDEF and used for purposes other than its intended use. It is also alleged that Moyo misappropriated funds together with his Deputy Dr Gandawa and his PA, Mr Shepherd Hozheri.
Subsequently, ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission), an anti-corruption establishment, made several attempts to apprehend Moyo to charge him for the alleged offense. At this point, all attempts to apprehend Professor Moyo and his accomplices have been unsuccessful.
Of course corruption must be condemned in the strongest terms but every case has its own merits. More importantly, the judiciary must be permitted to take its course – fundamental Human Rights must always apply, as an absolute moral principle, and those dictate that Moyo is innocent until proven guilty/
For example, the most fundamental part of any court proceeding is that the accused must be accorded the opportunity to defend himself/herself. It is not a lie, that corruption is a cancer, and needs to be dealt with. But Professor Jonathan Moyo should not pay the price for our nation’s desire to see blood on the floor.
As with all normal proceedings at trial, or considerations before trial. When allegations of any kind are laid out, several factors must be considered. One of the most common procedures in the criminal justice system is called ‘Character Scrutiny’.
Character Scrutiny is important because, in assessing the credibility of the person laying the charge, we are able to shed light on whether any malice is involved. Likewise, the credibility of the evidence must tie in with the credibility of the person laying the charge.
In this case, we should scrutinize, especially, the credibility of evidence presented by ZACC against Professor Moyo, as well as the body of ZAAC itself.
It is common knowledge that ZACC’s credibility is compromised because it has ignored other cases in the past which were more deserving of immediate prosecution.
A senior ZACC official, Mr Nguni issued the following statement; “It is false that ZIMDEF funds were used to fund the Million Man March, or any meeting of political parties. The ZIMDEF funds that we investigated were used to fund personal issues relating to Professor Moyo and Dr Gandawa,” he said.
Evidence on the contrary is piling up. The Youth league recently confirmed that ZIMDEF indeed funded the million man march. Therefore, it would be foolish to challenge the existence of such transactions when there is overwhelming evidence, both tacit and express, to the contrary.
Then others are implying that Moyo must walk the talk after the Herald of 3 April 2014 published a story titled ‘Carry your crosses – Moyo tells looters’. But the complication is that looters must carry their Cross only in the event of verified evidence that they should.
But on the face of it, the allegations against Jonathan Moyo are pointing towards absolute hypocrisy and tribalism.
Here are the facts: Jonathan Moyo was offered R24 000 by ZIMDEF to finance the funeral of his daughter, Zanele, who passed on mysteriously in Capetown last year. The money was mistakenly recorded as a loan instead of a donation. In a display of unwavering integrity, Jonathan Moyo did not seek to amend the status of the transaction to evade repayment but rather declared to pay it back. Besides, Jonathan Moyo maintains that the loan was given to him without having applied for it. For obvious reasons, the media did not cover those facts.
Then, the former Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Oppah Muchinguri was also a beneficiary of a non refundable loan when her close relative passed on during her tenure. Alas, in her case, there was no recognition of that transaction by ZACC even if it was not returned.
Secondly ZACC’s accusations are questionable especially after an audit concluded that ZIMDEF had accounted for all receipts and payments during the period in question.
Is ZACC more suitable to produce a report of ZIMDEF’s accounting position than an Audit firm? Also, it does not make accounting sense that when funds go through a particular bank account it conclusively means that the owner of that account was the beneficiary or that corruption would have transpired. Transactions are accounted for by means of receipts and invoices, not just mere bank transfers.
By the way ZACC is not an honourable Institution itself because its integrity has many questionable episodes. For example, it took ZACC an incredible 3 years to submit its accounts for auditing between 2011 and 2015. The Auditor General Mrs Mildred Chiri disclosed that when the accounts were finally submitted in 2014 for auditing, at the request of former Minister Oppah Muchinguri, there were no accounts presented for the period 2013-2014. Clearly, a lack of financial disclosure by ZACC, a body assigned with the responsibility to safeguard transparency and integrity in Parastatals, was a strategy to cover up for gross maladministration. That explains why, Dr Kateera who served in the Office of the ousted Vice President Joyce Mujuru, illegally attained a loan worth $5 000 in 2014.
When an audit was finally conducted, in 2014, the Auditor General disclosed many interesting findings from ZACC’s financial position. She explained that ZACC did not have a petty cash book and that its headquarters in Mt Pleasant was in the name of a top ZACC official. She also disclosed that there was a Cash flow deficit of $20 000 in the same year and that there was no evidence of receipts of money received from treasury.
If ZACC itself has a history of severe corruption, then would the latest allegations reflect a genuine investigation? Is ZACC conducting its work with sufficient integrity considering its history of deception?
- Immigration Maziwisa is a political analyst and social commentator. Article appears on Khuluma Afrika – a center for analysis, commentary and investigative journalism