WASHINGTON DC —
Government ministries and parastatals are using loopholes and lack of government control to bleed treasury of billions of dollars even as the government wrestles with a budget deficit and struggles to find revenue for a capital plan and turn around the economy.
According to the latest report from the auditor general, President Robert Mugabe's administration cannot account for $3,5 billion which was earmarked for civil servants' salaries.
Seven state-owned enterprises received $110 million between 2012 and last year, draining treasury which last year failed to pay civil servants’ bonuses until workers threatened to go on strike this year.
The report also shows that government has been diverting money meant for the production of vehicle number plates towards sustaining Air Zimbabwe, which received $20 million from the number plate fund in 2013.
The report also shows that telephone usage by staff at the transport and infrastructural development ministry hit a staggering telephone bill of $2 million.
Economists and lawyers told Studio 7 that mismanagement, corruption and fraud in state-owned firms have become corrosive, grossly undermining the country’s economy.
But what is the role of the auditor general in the country? Studio 7 talked to auditor general, Mildread Chiri, who says her role is to audit government books and try to bring order in national spending.