ZIMSTAT ABANDONS US$3M HQ newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

ZIMSTAT ABANDONS US$3M HQ newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

A US$3 million Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) mansion in Harare has been abandoned, with vandals causing more than US$600,000 in damage, according to an investigation by Truth Diggers.

It is the latest of several allegations of mismanagement at the taxpayer-funded statistics agency, which attracted public attention after director-general Tagoma Mahunde was suspended last year.

An official said Zimstat had acquired the property in Eastleigh, Harare, to set up its head office. A source said up to US$3 million is involved.

The executive said some officials were not aware of the property until news of its destruction recently emerged.

“I didn’t know anything about this property until we were told we had a property in Eastleigh that had been vandalized,” the official said.

“But the person who might know all the details is our department director and acting general manager.” The official added.

Tapiwa Zembvika, Zemstatt’s director of administration, said the case was still under investigation. As such, he was unable to provide full details.

“Unfortunately, the matter is under investigation, and we cannot comment for fear of jeopardizing the operation. “Zimstadt will not be in a position to comment until after the investigation is completed,” Zimbevika said.

“It is an office space, the headquarters of Zimstat,” he added.

But sources close to the developments were concerned that the rot in Zemstadt reflected problems in government agencies.

“The incident occurred in the Eastleigh area where Zimstadt recently suffered a property loss worth US$600,000 due to vandalism,” a source said.

“The building was left unattended for an extended period of time without any security measures being taken. The specific reasons for the lack of security are known only to the institution. This lack of oversight and responsibility is worrying and reflects poorly on the management within the government. Leaving such Unguarded valuable assets are not only a waste of taxpayer money, but also expose the property to the risk of theft or damage,” he said, noting that the property may have been intentionally abandoned to pave the way for looting.

The source said that the assets destroyed or vandalized at the property include water basins, electric motors, doors, electrical equipment, plumbing equipment, windows and rooms, valued at more than 600,000 US dollars.

“There were suspicions that the building had been deliberately left unguarded to allow the thieves to carry out their activities. Zimstat has a risk manager and a director of administration and finance who are qualified to ensure security guards are provided and such incidents of vandalism are prevented.

“This incident in Zimstat is just one manifestation of a larger problem within the Zimbabwean government. If such negligence and ignorant management continues to control critical positions, financial losses are likely to continue, which could hamper the country’s economic growth and development,” the source added.

In October last year, Mahonde was suspended after anti-corruption investigators combed through agency documents following a wave of allegations.

Mahunde and another executive whose employment status was queried in a report to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) have slipped onto investigators’ radar after whistleblowers claimed the high-end vehicles had been misused by “untouchable” VIPs for personal gain. .

Whistleblowers also claimed there were dodgy dealings relating to school fee bonuses by some senior officials at the agency, one of whom admitted wrongdoing when contacted by The Independent.

The eight-page paper, filed in late 2022, prompted Zack to investigate the agency.

The report also alleged that a senior Zimstat executive embezzled funds donated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to help the agency bolster its vehicle fleet with eight additional vehicles.

She also claimed that the looted money was also supposed to be spent on purchasing 150 motorcycles for the device.

The report also claimed that a few years ago, Zimstat purchased airtime for tablets worth more than the value of the devices, which the thieves then distributed to their friends to sell on the black market.

“The Director-General is exploiting the name and reputation of the Office of the President and the party (Zanu PF) for his personal benefit,” the whistleblowers alleged in the report they submitted to Zacc, with evidence.

“He always brags that he is highly connected and untouchable. He misuses agency vehicles, fuel, travel and accommodation allowances. Currently, he owns five agency vehicles, and two personal drivers for his own use, which is outside the scope of good corporate governance practices as a good corporate citizen.” Independent Zimbabwe

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