Top officials fingered in Games looting scam

06 Jun, 2020 - 00:06 0 Views
Top officials fingered in Games looting scam Makhosini Hlongwane

The Chronicle

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FOUR years ago, then Sport and Recreation Minister Makhosini Hlongwane ordered a forensic audit of facilities that were used for the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games in 2014.

Hlongwane suspected Government could have been duped after pouring US$18 million into the Games, but service providers were owed US$6 million.

The then minister was not impressed with the construction and renovation work of some of the Games’ facilities such as Bulawayo City Pool, track and netball courts, White City and Luveve stadiums.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education and Sport, Hlongwane said the money spent and work on the ground did not tally and there was need for an investigation.

He told the committee that he was shocked that US$18 million was pumped into the facilities and encouraged the committee to tour the facilities for a first-hand appreciation.

The forensic audit was conducted, but up to now, the findings have not yet been made public amid fears that a number of officials that were part of the local organising committee were involved in the scam to fleece the Government through overpricing or embezzlement.

Corruption watchdog, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), this week told Chronicle Sport that it would soon begin investigations to get to the bottom of the matter.

What could probably clear the officials is to make public the findings of the audit.

A source told Chronicle Sport that a number of top officials from the Sports Ministry were implicated in the looting scam.

“We have had sight of that report and I can tell you with confidence that some big guns are not clean. There was serious looting and it is only fair for those involved to have their day in court,” said the source.

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