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Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa has defied a Cabinet resolution barring permanent secretaries from sitting on the boards of parastatals. Chidhakwa recently appointed new boards to run the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, the Mining Affairs Board as well as the Mining Promotion Corporation. But in violation of the recently announced guidelines that Cabinet approved on the back of reports of rampant corruption and looting at State-owned firms, the Minister appointed Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga to the Mining Affairs as well as the Mining Promotion Corporation boards. The guidelines barred permanent secretaries from sitting on the boards of parastatals.

Gudyanga is now the chairperson of the Mining Affairs Board and at the same time chairing the Mining Promotion Corporation in an acting capacity.Gudyanga’s appointment is in violation of a Cabinet resolution arrived at in March. Chidhakwa was not reachable for comment yesterday as his mobile went unanswered.

But in a ministerial statement on corporate governance and remuneration policy framework for chief executive officers (CEOs) of parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities delivered in the National Assembly on March 4, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who also chairs the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals, said Cabinet had agreed that permanent secretaries should not sit on parastatal boards.

The minister said the measure, among others, was part of a number of resolutions that were arrived at during that day’s Cabinet session “to bring corporate sanity” in the governance of parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities.

“Mr Speaker Sir, with regards to board appointment management and performance, Cabinet has taken the following decisions: That board members be selected on grounds of merit, based on a clearly defined capability matrix and skills mix, in areas such as legal, finance, marketing, audit, technical, human resources, strategic and economic planning,” said Chinamasa.

“That a 50:50 gender representation and regional spread be factored into the selection of board members. That no permanent secretary should be a member of a public enterprise board but that Ministers should appoint appropriately qualified and experienced persons from their ministries to sit through deliberations of the board and to report to the Ministry the gist of the board’s deliberations.”

Cabinet also resolved that boards should meet on a quarterly basis, while any extraordinary board meetings are to be cleared first by the relevant permanent secretary. All resolutions of the board should be submitted to the minister and must be signed by the board’s chairperson, CEO and corporate secretary.

“In this connection, government has decided that the cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals development will oversee the forensic audit of all parastatals and local authorities to give them a clean bill of health as maybe necessary on a case by case basis,” said Chinamasa.

“In undertaking this important and urgent task, the Cabinet Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals development will endeavour to ensure that the process is objective, transparent for impartial, non political and strictly evidence based.”

Source : Financial Gazette

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