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The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe will soon collect listener’s licence fees following alleged abuse of the money by management at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, a senior Government official has said.

In an interview with StarFM last week, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Cde Supa Mandiwanzira said this would be implemented before year-end.

“The thrust, the thinking in the ministry right now is that ZBC has abused licence fees,” he said. “It has taken these licence fees to fund huge perks for its executives and luxurious packages and vehicles that had nothing to do with what we watch on television.

“The thinking is that we must remove the collection of licence fees from ZBC to BAZ. BAZ must use this money to fund Zimbabweans who want to produce films, documentaries, dramas and create good content for the television and radio industry in this country.”

Cde Mandiwanzira further explained: “The law does not require any Zimbabwean to pay a licence fee for watching ZBC or listening to ZBC.The law of the land requires every Zimbabwean to pay a licence fee for owning a receiver.

“It does not say ZBC must give you good programmes to pay a licence fee.”

ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere has been suspended and is facing criminal charges related to the purchase of an outside broadcasting van.

Other senior managers are said to be involved in alleged fraud at ZBC.

Asked why some of senior ZBC managers accused of fraud were not suspended, Cde Mandiwanza said: “You cannot go into an institution and fire everyone. Who will then answer questions from the auditors if all are sacked? The public must be patient and allow the forensic audit to take place.

“If an institution is rotten and corrupt, first the person who must be asked questions and is answerable is the person at the top, then you go down. What has happened is that the consequences of the allegations meant that the one at the top has been excused to step aside and allow for an audit which is now taking place.”

Source : The Herald