Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT has set up a five-member ‘Special Investigation Committee’ to probe operations and dealings of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) board with a special focus on holiday and Covid-19 pandemic allowances.
In a general notice 73 of 2023 gazetted on Friday, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu, said the committee’s mandate was with immediate effect, and went on to detail a long list of terms and references of the special crack committee.
Deputy director responsible for human resources within the ministry, Mr Osward Chihombori, is the secretary of the committee whose members are drawn from the Ministries of Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Energy and Power Development, Local Government and Public Works, as well as the Attorney-General’s Office.
“It is hereby notified that the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry has in terms of Section 40 (1) of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act (Chapter 10:31) appointed a Special Investigation Committee with effect from the date of the publication notice,” reads the gazetted general notice.
It also noted that the committee will seek to establish a clear policy on holiday allowances for ZTA chief executive officer and policy on chief operating officer holiday allowances.
Also, the committee will probe whether there are any reference provisions for the acting chief executive officer to get holiday allowances as per the letter from the Office of the President and Cabinet, and “if the chief executive offer benefited from chief operating officer allowances?.
If so, how much, how payments were affected, and whether there was board concurrence for the acting chief executive officer to get holiday allowances at the chief executive officer level.
“If there was any breaches in terms of the Corporate Governance Act- if so, what are the recommended remedial measures and if there are any loopholes/gaps identified in the allowance system and make recommendations to prevent such occurrences in future,” reads the notice.
The special probe committee will further seek to establish groceries allowances paid out during Covid-19 period, the basis for that Covid-19 allowance provision, and whether there was a board resolution to that effect.
Added to that, the special investigation team will seek to establish whether the grocery allowance was provided for in terms of the Corporate Governance Act.
The duration in which the board received the allowances would also be probed and establish the total costs and whether the groceries allowances were given to all ZTA staff members.
Further to that, the investigation committee will look into the holiday allowances paid out to the board and determine their basis and whether there was a board resolution to that effect, and whether it was provided for under the Corporate Governance Act.
Also, the duration of the allowance allocation would be probed, and the total amount involved, and also if the holiday allowances cascaded to all ZTA staff members.
“On both issues, the committee may raise other pertinent issues in terms of the Corporate Governance Act (Chapter 10:31)”, said the Government.