The Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) which wholly funds supports the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) human capital development projects, has voiced grave concern over the looting of funds by Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Jonathan Moyo.
ZIMDEF, which falls under Moyo’s ministry, has been prejudiced of close to $500,000 through an illegal loan and the diversion of money to buy bicycles and fuel that largely benefited the minister.
The cycles went to Moyo’s Tsholotsho constituency while the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) alleges that part of the money went to buy fuel coupons that Moyo converted to his own use.
Moyo admitted to the corruption through Twitter, but insisted that he was doing it for a good cause.
EMCOZ said it was following the ZIMDEF saga with “keen interest” and noted that companies under its fold risked folding after sacrificing money to ZIMDEF.
“It is accepted that the Minister, as Trustee, has wide discretion in how the Fund will be used. It makes sad reading, though, when newspapers publish stories of alleged corruption and misuse of funds at the Fund against the background of companies folding as a result of garnishees resulting from lack of capacity to meet the regulatory requirement of paying ZIMDEF dues,” said EMCOZ in a statement
The confederation said it was enraged and dismayed by Moyo’s remarks relating to the scam and it looks likely that ZIMDEF might fold as the funder may withdraw support.
“Employers are distraught and have required that EMCOZ should follow the developments with intense interest and depending on the outcome of investigations taking place, consult on options available as the way forward,” reads the statement.
EMCOZ said the issues raised by ZACC “are of great concern to our membership and, by extension, to the entire investing community”.
The confederation made a thinly veiled attack on Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko who has come to Moyo’s defence.
He dismissed ZACC’s attempts to arrest Moyo, claiming that only the president could cause ministers’ prosecution, but this has been waved off by prominent lawyers.
“We are concerned that a legal institution like the (Zimbabwe) Anti-Corruption Commission is vulnerable to attack by the very institutions which are sworn to protect it.
“This could be interpreted locally and internationally as interference with the course of justice which significantly affects the attitude of investors.
“We call on the re-establishment of communication between the Fund, the Trustee and the funders through the National Manpower Advisory Council, as has always been the case in the past. ZIMDEF as a public institution must apply the funds for the purpose for which it was established and it should not be allowed to operate outside its mandate,” added EMCOZ.