WASHINGTON DC —
As the country’s road network disintegrates, a latest audit of public accounts has revealed the Roads and Road Traffic Fund set up by the government to provide tools and equipment for road construction and maintenance is not being properly managed.
According to the audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General, the fund which is run by the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) was unable to fully account for more than $6 million allocated for road maintenance in 2011.
ZINARA has failed to explain how this money was used when most of the country’s roads are fast disappearing and villagers are pooling resources to pay for road maintenance.
In her report, Comptroller Auditor General, Mildred Chiri, said ZINARA was unable to give full information on the financial position and performance of the fund making it difficult to determine how the money was utilized.
ZINARA, she said, failed to give information on the material acquired, consumed and material at hand.
According to information at hand, Matabeleland North province received the highest allocation at $1 million and Mashonaland Central got the least at $90,000.
Several cities, towns and rural district councils are not happy with allocations they are getting from ZINARA saying they are too low, making it difficult for them to effectively maintain roads.
Harare City Council Finance Committee Chairman, councilor Allan Markham said roads in the city will remain in a poor state unless they get their dues from ZINARA.
Harare Residents Association Director, Precious Shumba, also said ZINARA’s role in the administration of the road fund must be revisited, adding disbursement of funds to local authorities should be done timeously.
He said the Comptroller and Auditor General simply confirms what they have been saying that the road funds are not being properly used.
ZINARA spokesperson, Augustine Moyo, could not be reached for comment. Last year however, ZINARA acquired 80 motorized graders from China under its road authorities capitalization program.
The Comptroller and Auditor General said ZINARA must provide for audit accurate consolidated financial statements to enable decision makers assess the performance of the fund.
Pumula legislator and member of the parliament's Transport Portfolio Committee Albert Mhlanga tells V-O-A reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga his committee recommended an investigation into the disbursement of the fund, especially targetting ZINARA leadership.