Former State Enterprises and Parastatals (SEPs) minister Gorden Moyo Tuesday made sensational claims that sometime during the inclusive government he nearly landed in trouble when he gave President Robert Mugabe a dossier implicating 11 Zanu PF and four MDC ministers in corruption.
Moyo made the disclosure in Harare while addressing delegates attending a Transparency International Zimbabwe-organised workshop.
The workshop was meant to help stakeholders brainstorm on how to conduct the 2014 annual state of corruption study.
The former MDC-T minister said corruption had been institutionalised and was difficult to deal with.
“State enterprises and parastatals are now new sites of factional politics where ministers will appoint people from their factions to head them and those who are not from their factions have to be dissolved (sic),” Moyo said.
He said Mugabe knew that corruption had now been “State-institutionalised”.
“In 2011, I got a report with details of what ministers got in terms of double-dipping when claiming allowances and in terms of getting vehicles from parastatals and money in terms of travel allowances and the issue was published in a South African newspaper,” Moyo said. “When Mugabe got hold of the newspaper, he did not like it and former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara told me that I was in trouble.”
Moyo claimed he then briefed Mugabe and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who both allegedly said the issue of corruption should never be “a newspaper thing”.
“But it was an Executive issue because I was not a super minister and the President was going to deal with the 11 ministers and the PM with the four. We had records of kleptocracy that was going on at SEPs – the President knew – but unless the Executive deals with corruption at our SEPs, we will have this thing going on,” he said.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai’s spokespersons George Charamba and Luke Tamborinyoka were not reachable for comment yesterday.
Moyo described how some sound proposals and documents to revamp SEPs were allegedly shot down because they would give leverage to the party that proposed them, adding some investment deals got stalled because “some ministers did not get under-the-table cuts”.
“We came up with good documents with the State Enterprises Regulatory Authority to use for the restructuring of [steelmaker] Zisco and the minister responsible said the idea should be brought to him first. For you to get one company restructured, the ministers would want under-the-table cuts, and if they did not get that, nothing happened. Zisco restructuring was taken to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
They did everything they could, but they did not realise that the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development needed to have a cut and they did not provide iron ore. Up to today Zisco is not working because the ministers wanted to get $10 million or $20 million from the Indians [the investors],” Moyo said.
He said another big problem was that laws governing SEPs allowed Cabinet ministers to be players as well as regulators.
“Militarisation of SEPs and politicisation are the twin evils that bedevilled SEPs. Former ambassadors, MPs, or (Zanu PF) politburo members who were not assigned positions found homes at SEPs and made them part of State House and that does not augur well with trajectories of economic development acceptable in the 21st Century.”
Speaking at the same function, former chairperson of the Parastatals Commission Ibbo Mandaza said ministers in the inclusive government which ended in July last year preferred taking their documents directly to Mugabe instead of referring them to Cabinet.
“That gave leeway to corruption and led to policy paralysis. When SEPs are failing, management must be recalled and the chief executive officer and minister must be relieved of the job. There is lack of a standard enabling Act that governs all SEPs. We should look at the whole question of governance structures and how the Constitution can restore governance of national institutions,” Mandaza said.
He said the Parastatals Commission was set up in 1988 to categorise parastatals, commercialise and privatise them, set up systems in parastatals and to empower boards in charge of parastatals and the commission managed to curtail the powers of ministers over SEPs.
However, Mandaza said the Parastatals Commission was dissolved in 1990, adding that the move paved way for massive looting of State resources.
“As a way forward, we need to revise Acts under which parastatals are set up. We need to fast-track privatisation,” he said.
TIZ researcher Farai Mutondoro said there was need for free access to information, transparency and accountability, as well as to unpack the drivers fuelling corruption.
“We need to interrogate whether our SEPs have value which we can sell to the private sector, and we need to be clear about the role of the State when we privatise or commercialise,” Mutondoro said.