No word on COVID-19 relief funds stuck in NetOne lines
The government has remained mum on part of the ZW$89 022 103 COVID-19 relief funds which were transferred to NetOne lines that were not allocated to beneficiaries.
At the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the government of Zimbabwe announced a stimulus package to help the vulnerable members of society,
The relief funds were supposed to be disbursed through the government-owned NetOne lines which would be given to beneficiaries.
However, many of the lines which are loaded with the funds could not be disbursed due to various mistakes.
Some of the mistakes range from the wrong province, wrong name, wrong identification number among many others.
The first tranche of the money was disbursed around May 2020 during the first days of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
According to the Auditor-General Covid-19 special audit report, the processing of payments was done by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare Head Office.
The auditor indicated that the COVID19 relief allowances payments were processed through NetOne mobile money platform.
‘’According to information availed for audit, a total amount of $89 022 103 was disbursed to beneficiaries from May 19, 2020, to December 12, 2020.
‘’No reconciliations were done with the mobile money service provider to confirm whether all the payments reached the intended beneficiaries as there were instances where the mobile money service provider issued: Two different Net One lines to the same individual, Net One lines which were not uploaded with the allowances to beneficiaries.
‘’Batches of sim cards to incorrect Districts or Provinces resulting in non-collection of the allowances by intended beneficiaries,’’ read the report.
Although the report is currently in the hands of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, there is however a deafening silence on the funds that were transferred to NetOne sim cards and are losing value due to inflation.
Commenting on the level of corruption that was exposed by the auditor general, Public Accounts Committee chairperson Brian Dube is on record saying one cannot afford not to cry.
He said the funds were abused left, right and centre, while the intended beneficiaries are still struggling to make a living. Most people in Zimbabwe live through vending and they were hugely affected when the country instituted lockdowns last year and the first quarter of 2021.