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HomeBusinessTourism Ministry Fails To Account For Mzembi UNWTO Campaign Funds

Tourism Ministry Fails To Account For Mzembi UNWTO Campaign Funds

Auditor General Mildred Chiri has exposed how government wasted close to $2 million funding former minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi’s campaign for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation UNWTO Secretary General post.

Following Mzembi’s unsuccessful bid, the Ministry failed to produce financial statements for the funds received.

“Treasury availed a total amount of $1 506 000 towards the campaign race for the position of Secretary General in the United Nations World Tourism Organisation that ran from June 2016 to September 2017.

“The Ministry opened a Secretary General Campaign Programme Fund Account on January 6,2017 for the purposes of receiving donations and making payments related to the campaign.

“The money for the campaign Fund was not channeled through the Ministry’s sub-PMG account and was not disclosed as current transfers in the Ministry’s Appropriation Account.

“Furthermore, the Ministry did not produce financial statements for the Secretary General’s Campaign Funds and there was no donations register for recording donations to the Fund contrary to section 37 of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22.19),” said Chiri in his latest audit report.

Mzembi eventually failed to garner the 17 mandatory votes required to give him an outright majority and avoid the second round which he lost to a Georgian candidate, Mr Zurab Pololikashvilli.

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Chiri said the Ministry breached the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act through wasteful expenditure by incurring penalties for change of air travel and late confirmation of bookings.

“For the second year running the Ministry incurred penalties for change of air travel and late confirmation of bookings.The total penalties amounted to $97 614.

“This was in breach of provisions of section 85(1) (b) of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22.19) which prohibits fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

“The Ministry received $290 000 from Treasury to pay travelling and subsistence allowances to officers who participated in the Domestic and Outbound Tourism Survey (DOTS) programme.

“The balance of $56 500 was transferred to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority bank account at year end,the money was meant for travelling and subsistence allowances to officers who participated in the DOTS programme.

“There was no records to show that the advances were passed to intended beneficiaries as the officers did not submit travelling and subsistence claim forms.Out of the $290 000 received for the programme,only $3 200 was acquitted,” said Chiri.

She added that “Over the years l have reported that the Ministry purchased Public Viewing Areas screens (PVAs) and accessories at a cost of $2 000 000.The Ministry distributed some of the PVAs to all ten provinces of the country  and donated some to religious organisations and individuals without seeking prior Treasury authority contrary to provisions of section 6 (2) (b) of the PFM Act which places the responsibility of transfer or disposal of any State property on Treasury.”

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