By Daniel Chigundu
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Ignatius Chombo says his ministry is working to recover money lost from parastatal bosses who were awarding themselves multiple bonuses since 2012.
Although the majority of parastatals are under-performing and have been perennial loss-making entities for several years, its bosses have however been consistent in awarding themselves hefty bonuses which should have been performance based.
Speaking at a board effectiveness and performance management guidelines workshop organised by the Office of the President and Cabinet, Chombo said public funds must be fully justified and accounted for.
“Bonuses, if they are to be paid at all, must only be awarded on the basis of annual performance assessments against agreed performance targets and only after annual audited financial statements confirm a satisfactory overall entity performance.
“A recent forensic audit of one entity revealed that management had paid itself two bonuses in 2012 and three bonuses in 2013. Nothing can justify this squandering of public funds. My ministry will be acting to ensure recovery of such unjustified payments from all those who benefitted therefrom.
“These are public funds and the use thereof must be fully justified, and must at all times be accurately and transparently accounted for,” he said.
Chombo added that audited financial statements must be submitted every year and on time and that Annual General Meetings at which the operational and financial performance of the entity is disclosed and opened to the critical scrutiny of relevant Stakeholders beyond just the line ministry must be held.
The Finance Minister also revealed that the State Enterprises Bill which is before Parliament is seeking to address all these and many other management deficiencies identified in successive audit reports.
Chombo said “the Bill is very clear in what it demands of management, and equally, what it requires in terms of line ministry oversight.
“…the days of no boards, incomplete boards, one-man boards, non-existent board committees, indefinite acting CEO’s, finance directors or heads of internal audit, are well and truly gone.
“Remuneration has to be based on performance – measured and assessed – both of the individual and of the Entity,” he said.