Home » Governance » Zanu-PF MP Looted Govt Youth Fund, Claimed to Be ‘Disaantaged’

A ZANU PF legislator is among party members accused of “dishonestly” looting a government fund established to help youths below the age of 35 start income generating projects in a bid to reduce unemployment and poverty in the country.

Mberengwa East MP, Makhosini Hlongwane, benefitted under the scheme by claiming to be disaantaged although colleagues said Thursday he was way above the age limit for potential beneficiaries.

Stanbic Bank head of business banking, Patson Mahachi confirmed that Hlongwane benefitted from the scheme when he appeared Thursday before the parliamentary committee on youth, indigenization and economic empowerment

Mkoba MP, Amos Chibaya (MDC-T) then quizzed Mahachi how an “old Hlongwane dipped his hand” into the youth fund when he was an adult.

The Zanu PF MP received $32,000 from the facility under the disaantaged criteria.

“You said that this fund is for youths below the age of 35, but as for Honourable Makhosini, the truth is that by then he was already above 35 years, I know that very well,” Chibaya said.

Mahachi said he could not produce proof of age for all beneficiaries, a development which attracted the wrath of legislators who suspected that the bulk of those who got the loans were above the age limit and were using political ties.

Mahachi said some youths had no assets to attach, making it difficult to recover the money owed while others would hide equipment to prevent the bank from repossessing it.

So far applications received were worth $14 million and only projects worth $5,7 million had been approved.

Of the 289 projects approved, 226 were from Harare and Mashonaland provinces while Bulawayo and Matabeleland provinces had 49 projects, Midlands 12, Manicaland two and Masvingo three.

MPs challenged Mahachi about one Dumisani who received $420,000 and a Eugene Jackson who got $295,000 under Midlands province yet his address was listed as Bulawayo.

Mahachi said he did not have Hlongwane’s details and promised to provide the details of all beneficiaries next week after committee chairperson, the MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya Justice Mayor Wadyajena requested them.

“We told you to bring proof of age for all the beneficiaries and this is why we did so. We wanted to know if indeed the beneficiaries of the fund are indeed youths,” Wadyajena said.

Mahachi however, said he needed time investigate if Hlongwane was above the age limit and how he got the loan.

“I apologise for not bringing the proof of age for all the beneficiaries, but I think he might have been within the age limit, but as I said, let me go and check with our records and will respond,” he said.

Also probably using Zanu PF links , Affirmative Action Group chairperson, Chamu Chiwaza received a loan facility of $25 000. Although his age was not clear with some MPs suggesting that he could be over 35 years.

Hlongwane is not the only top Zanu PF officials to have benefited from the fund.

Ex-Indigenisation minister, Saviour Kasukuwere’s young brother, Tongai, was among Zanu PF ‘youths’ who benefited from government youth funds but defaulted on repayment.

Launched by the Indigenisation ministry under Kasukuwere’s charge, the scheme was aimed at helping reduce youth unemployment in the country as well as stimulating economic growth but opposition parties claimed the programme only benefitted Zanu PF members.

Source : New Zimbabwe