CIVIL society and trade unions have accused the Zanu PF government of being complicit in the looting of parastatals and local authorities where senior executives have been exposed for earning obscene salaries.
This comes in the wake of recent revelations of huge salaries for executives at ZBC, Air Zimbabwe, Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) and Harare City Council.
Some of the executives were taking home between $36 000 and $230 000 per month.
Civil society organisations said it was practically impossible for the government to be ignorant of what was happening at State enterprises since permanent secretaries sit on the boards of the institutions.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions acting secretary-general Gideon Shoko said government officials were aware of the rot, but chose to turn a blind eye.
“Certainly they knew what was going on since permanent secretaries sit on the boards that approved these salaries,” he said.
“Political bootlicking and patronage also made sure that those in the boards remained quiet about the proceedings in the parastatals.”
Transparency International Zimbabwe chairman Loughty Dube concurred saying government officials slept on duty and should shoulder the blame for the rot at public institutions.
“There was no political commitment to do an oversight duty on these parastatals by the line ministers, permanent secretaries and Parliament since the salaries and perks of executives were approved by the entire boards,” he said.
“These parastatals were used by those in the government to feed from and loot without being seen by the public.”
Zimbabwe has in the past witnessed the looting of State enterprises until they are reduced to shells like in the case of Ziscosteel. Investigations by Parliament proved that the company was systematically looted by executives conniving with senior government officials. Dube challenged the authorities to make public the financial records of parastatals as enshrined in the Constitution if there was nothing to hide.
“The government has failed in enforcing clear business procedures based on good corporate governance such as publication of audited financial results,” he said.
“Why is it that the public is not told how much board members get per sitting?”
Shoko said in the case of PSMAS the firing of the board chairperson was disingenuous on the part of the government.
“Why did they single out the board chairperson instead of firing the entire board that presided over sanctioned looting?” queried Shoko.
Civil society groups said until a comprehensive audit of the parastatals salary schedules was done and anyone implicated in improper conduct prosecuted, citizens would remain sceptical of the government’s commitment to fight corruption.