Long-buried corruption ghost resurrects to haunt TSCZ

…as ZAAC moves to act on adverse internal audit report

By Moses Ziyambi

A long-dormant corruption case at the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) which many people suspected had been swept under the carpet has now been reincarnated by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zaac) which has opened an investigation into the matter.

Zaac recently wrote to TSCZ acting Chief Executive Officer, Clifford Gobo requesting his cooperation and release of documents needed for the investigations into a 2014 vehicle scam.

“This office is investigating allegations of fraud as defined in Section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23. To assist in our investigations, may you furnish us with TSCZ policy on disposal of motor vehicles, council resolution, if any, on disposal of vehicles and statement of procedure on the disposal of the following vehicles ABX 6576, ABK 6230. The above information will be used solely for the purpose of investigations,” reads part of the letter to Gobo.

The TSCZ internal audit committee’s work on the head office (2013), internal audit analysis (2014) and executive directors’ contracts (2015) produced some adverse findings.

It is, however, the 2015 executive directors’ contract audit report which forms the basis of the current investigation by ZAAC.

In the report, the audit team exposed weak internal controls, profligacy and poor corporate governance on the part of TSCZ management.

According to the report, then TSCZ managing director Obio Chinyere (pictured), who is now on retirement, was offered a vehicle valued at US$65 000 in January 2014.

Chinyere, however, did not pay the 10 percent of the value of the car to TSCZ as is required by the organisation’s internal vehicle disposal policy, but instead sought Gobo’s blessing to sell it for a profit.

By then, Gobo, who is now acting CEO, was the director of administration and finance.

In the wake of the adverse report which got leaked to the media, the TSCZ management embarked on a witch-hunt and finally dismantled the internal audit committee.

Audit team manager Patricia Nhutsve was removed from the head office and posted to Chinhoyi while fellow audit team colleague Delix Mugwagwa was redeployed to Mutare where he now works as a training safety officer.

Another team member Munyaradzi Muzire left his job after resigning allegedly under duress.

When conducted for comment, Gobo said reports of wrongdoing at the organisation were a result of enemies who wanted to smear the TSCZ’s name.

“At TSCZ, we do everything in accordance with set rules. There are however some people who are peddling lies through the media for their own selfish agenda. Why not wait for the conclusive investigations from ZAAC which can competently do its work,” said Gobo in response to queries that his organisation had spiritedly tried to sweep the matter under the carpet.

He denied that the redeployment of Nhutsve and Mugwagwa and the resignation of Muzire was a result of a witch-hunt exercise, and accused them of incompetence and leaking information to the media.

“It was an internal restructuring process after some of them disregarded internal communication protocols and leaked the audit report to the media. Some of them were failing to perform competently in the roles they held so they had to be moved. If you are sincere in your motives, why do you leak results of your audit work to the media and not, for example, to the Ministry of Transport which is our principal?

“Those people are actually happy where they are now. Mugwagwa was not forced to resign as was alleged because in Zimbabwe, we have a justice system where anybody can explore their legal options if made to resign in that way,” said Gobo.