By Wisdom Mumera
Parliament has ordered the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) to stop payments to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for security services at tollgates after revelations that no service agreement is in place to regulate the payments.
The anomaly is the same in another arrangement in which the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) has been collecting overload fees on behalf of ZINARA without a service agreement on the percentage shares for the money.
Presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Public Accounts on the Auditor general’s findings on the authority, Finance Director for ZINARA Mr Simon Taranhike said the police had refused to sign the agreement citing security reasons.
“We do have service level agreements in place with a number of service providers but some of these anomalies are legacy issues from the previous board.
“With ZRP, however, they refused to sign and indicated that for security reasons they do not enter into service level agreements in instances where they offer security services as the reinforcement arm of government”
ZINARA’s Corporate Secretary Mrs Methelene Mujokoro added that they was no legal framework to guide them in dealing with the issue.
“There is no legal framework guiding us, that’s why we have been lobbying for us to have a legal framework that governs that service that they are providing us but currently there is nothing,” she said.
Bulawayo South MP, and Hon Eddie Cross, however, dismissed the argument saying the payments had to stop and a service level agreement signed before continuation.
“If they can’t sign the service level agreement then they should not be paid. It is nonsense that there are security reasons for their refusal to sign. Go and tell them that,” said Cross.
Members of the Portfolio Committee questioned the basis upon which the current payments were being made in the absence of the service level agreement.
“Without an agreement what then will be the basis upon which you are making the payments because they cannot pull a number from the air and say we are charging $1000 per month. They have to sign an agreement which you use to calculate the payments,” said Cross.
Financial discrepancies and mismanagement has been rampant at ZINARA with the previous board led by Mr Albert Mugabe being fingered in shady deals.
The issues were raised in Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s audit report ending December 2016 which also revealed that Zinara directors were paid over $2 250 as entertainment allowances per month against an approved budget of $250 per, prejudicing the state of more than $18 000.
They also received $3000 for corporate wear.
Parliament has since ordered that ZINARA management send written explanations over a number of areas whose answers they deemed not satisfactory during the hearing.