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AG Unearths Gross Mismanagement At ARDA


The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has some of its assets not registered in its name, in another classic case of wide sweeping gross mismanagement of national assets within the public sector.

This is contained in the latest edition of the Auditor General (AG) report.

The Authority is a state owned enterprise under the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement that is responsible for spearheading the advancement of agricultural production and rural development in the country.

This was unearthed by the AG’s office in its audit of the authority’s financials dating 2014 to 2018.

“I draw your attention to the fact that some of the assets disclosed in the financial statements had not been registered in the name of the Authority.

“Furthermore, the ARDA Modzone complex buildings in the Seke Industrial area are not fully registered in the name of the Authority,” said the AG.

The report however did not reveal the exact position regarding ownership of the property, leaving the authority’s management with a case to answer.

The audit further found that the Authority was not receiving rental income from some of its housing properties at its estates across the country.

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“The Authority was not collecting rental income from its houses across most estates. Most of

these houses were still being occupied by former employees, who were not paying rentals, for

example at Nijo, Katiyo and Kairezi,”

“Upon enquiry management indicated that there was a dispute between employees and the Authority, over outstanding salaries, wages and pensions.”

The effects of this on the authority is a massive financial loss from irrecoverable costs incurred on maintenance of these houses and loss of rental income.

In its response, the management of ARDA appeared to be disputing owing salaries of former employees still occupying these houses.

“Audit observation noted. Employees were alleging that the Authority still owed them

their salaries and wages and pensions, hence they refused to vacate the houses until they

were paid their dues. Management is working to legally evict the former employees. The

cited cases were at Nijo, Kairezi and Katiyo Estates,” said ARDA management.

To compound matters, there was no evidence to support that the Authority was witnessing weighing of harvested green tea leaf at Katiyo Estate currently utilised by a lessee which created a window for misrepresentation of quantities produced that can potentially disenfranchise the authority of substantial income in royalties.


“Upon enquiry, the Katiyo Estate manager indicated that reliance is placed on dispatch documents collected from the factory. Although the agreement with the lessee (EHPL) states that a representative of ARDA must witness the weighing of harvested green leaf on which the

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royalty is based, this was not being done,” reads the report.

ARDA has also been unable to remit pension funds owing to cash challenges prior to 2018 experienced in the country, a development that could result in its employees failing to access their pension benefits.

It alleges to be now paying the monthly obligations on top of agreed instalments for arrear clearance.

As at December 31, 2018 ARDA owed an amount of US$825 604 (2017: US$704 659) due to non-payment of pension dues.

Last year the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka embarked on a restructuring of the Authority and unlawfully appointed new board members and management.

It was expected that the coming on a new board last year chaired by Irvine Craig with Tinotenda Mhiko as its chief executive officer would give the authority fresh impetus but it however emerged that the former board members were still receiving their normal perks.

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