VISET Statement on Abuse of Covid-19 Funds

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) takes note of the report by the Office of the Auditor General’s report entitled Special Audit Report of the Auditor General on the Covid-19 pandemic Financial Management and Utilisation of Public Resources tabled in Parliament on 02 August 2021.

In it, the Auditor General which covered 6 of the country’s 10 provinces, reveals that a total of ZWL 89 022 103 was disbursed between May and December 2020 and that there were many discrepancies such as use of fictitious names, one individual having more than one line, no reconciliations and no mechanism of verifying if the assistance reached the intended beneficiary.

The assistance was targeted at the Informal Sector, food insecure households, the elderly and chronically ill, yet as the report reveals, the funds ended up being abused by influential in society.

Whilst the findings in the report are disappointing, there are by no means surprising, as VISET has long since raised a red flag regarding this facility and the lack of transparency under which it was implemented. Upon the announcement of the facility, we questioned the wisdom of appointing only one money transfer agency (One Money) yet majority of our membership, and indeed subscribers use Ecocash. Even when we were concerned that much against the statements by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube, our membership was not in receipt of funds, our cries were ignored.

VISET now calls upon Parliament to act on this report by the Auditor General by recommending prosecution of those responsible for these criminal acts. We also further urge Parliament to ensure that social protection for the Informal Economy becomes a reality in order to curb abuses by facilities that are created in times of calamity that are then abused owing to the fact that there are no safeguards in place.

Prepared By VISET Information and Publicity

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