Alex Tawanda Magaisa, a former Chief of Staff in the office of the late former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, has suggested that the government pressured Auditor-General Mildred Chiri to omit important details in the 2019 audit report.
Magaisa said the omission of such details is a huge blow to principles of good governance such as transparency and accountability. In his Big Saturday Read, Magaisa said the latest report kills trust the citizenry had n the reports. He said:
The AG has done a remarkable job in the past. Her reports have demonstrated the rot at the heart of the State and shown why the Honesty Shop is failing. This year’s report is a belated one from 2019. The delays have been attributed to the COVID19 pandemic. Regrettably, the regime appears to have exerted its considerable weight on the latest report.
One of the apparent weaknesses is that the report omits a lot of the names of companies and individuals that were involved in some dubious transactions with the government and its entities. Previous reports of the AG have identified such individuals and companies by name, and to that extent, the report has acted as an important naming and shaming instrument. This is important for transparency and accountability, both key constitutional values and principles.
The latest report appears to have been edited so that where it used to identify a company by its name, now it simply refers to “a local company”. This obfuscates where the AG is supposed to illuminate and for that reason provides unhelpful cover to dubious characters that are fleecing public resources under the guise of commercial transactions.
Magaisa identified the failure by the Auditor-General to name and identify 7 of the 8 board members of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) who violated the principle of conflict of interest.