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Zimbabwe: Parliament rejects new Auditor General

Parliamentarians from all political parties on Thursday shot down finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s motion which sought approval of Mike Ndudzo’s appointment as the new Auditor General.

Ndudzo’s nomination by President Robert Mugabe, in line with section 310 of the constitution, was announced Wednesday. His substantive appointment required Parliamentary approval.

He would take over from Mildred Chari whose term of office expired last February but, according to Chinamasa, had been requested to continue in post until a replacement was found.

On Thursday, MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese was the first to challenge Chinamasa, arguing that the selection process was unprocedural as it was not done in consultation with the relevant committees of Parliament, particularly the Public Accounts committee.

“We do so (opposing appointment) from a position of knowledge and not at this juncture whereby we are just given a curriculum vitae (CV) and we are expected to do it at the speed of an unidentified flying object which is just flying past this august House,” Gonese said.

Chinamasa, repeatedly justified Ndudzo’s nomination, citing his experience in both the public and private sector.

However, Zanu PF legislator John Holder challenged the minister, saying Ndudzo had, for decades, presided over struggling institutions.

“His CV is very colourful with all sorts of information but with so many companies that are currently battling it out,” said Holder adding,

“Dorowa Minerals has not been operating for a long time until it was recapitalised later. If you look at Modzone Enterprises, it is bankrupt and Sunway has failed to take off.

“None of these companies are operating smoothly, including National Railways of Zimbabwe. Firstel has got a problem.”

The ruling party MP continued; “If you look at all these companies that he mentioned here Mr. Speaker, my question is – why were public interviews not held?

“A person who was handpicked; I suspect foul play there. Why handpick one person instead of having public interviews?”

Holder suggested public interviews be held where several qualified candidates can be quizzed before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

“His (Ndudzo) academics and everything on the CV is pretty good, but again when you look at the companies he had put reference to, you will find that there is a bad track record and anything he touches turns to rubbish,” he said.

MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi concurred with Gonese saying the Auditor General was in fact the secretary of the Public Accounts committee.

“We do not want to hear about this particular gentleman until he goes through the relevant step as provided for in our Standing Rules and Orders and come to the Public Accounts Committee and we will then give a report as a response to his motion,” she said.

The legislators started chanting Chiri’s name repeatedly, forcing the adamant Chinamasa to relent after a tete-a-tete with speaker Jacob Mudenda.

“I think listening to the sentiments of the House on both sides of the political divide, I would want to carry out further consultations,” said Chinamasa.

The finance minister however, insisted Chiri was not fired but had instead declined an executive invitation for her to continue serving.

“After she refused to have the six-year extension, I approached Mrs. Chiri to say I would want her to be head of the Internal Audit Department so that you can set or establish systems for Internal Auditors,” he said.

Source: New Zimbawe 

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