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Abusers Of Public Funds Should Be Held Accountable

Former Mutare City Mayor Brian James has described poor public finance management systems within the government as a crime against the people charging that those responsible should be held to account.

This comes in the wake of the country’s debt crisis with the current figure pegged at a staggering USD$18 billion, accrued as a result of public finance abuse.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) organized Public Finance Management Indaba in Mutare yesterday, James appealed for deterrent to curb abuse of public finances.

“Those responsible for mismanaging the debt need to be held accountable. It’s a crime, it’s a crime against the people.  So the courts need to deal with them or even jail terms and they have to return a lot of money they accrued through their salaries.

“But a strong deterrent need to be put in place so that the next CEOs of these parastatals and other institutions don’t go down the same route,” James said.

Mutasa South legislator Regai Tsunga castigated government for failing to live within its means.

“The government must live within its own means because as we speak now, the propensity to borrow is just too high and it appears like there is insatiable appetite by government to live large without considering the ramifications and implications of such.

“So the domestic debt must come down and the external debt must also come down.  But it’s unfortunate also that the debt is normal used for recurring expenditure rather that the productive sector,” Tsunga said.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary committee on public accounts led by Harare East legislator Tendai Biti will next month present its first report of its findings on the state of financial affairs in the public sector with preliminary findings indicating a potential gross public finances.

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