THE National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is set to launch a forensic audit as the parastatal seeks solutions to problems that have left the passenger and goods rail freighter in dire straits.
Currently crippled by endless industrial actions, NRZ is struggling to remain afloat.
NRZ chairman, Larry Mavima, told the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets last week that the forensic audit would result in a staff reshuffle at the parastatal.
Since his appointment March, pressure has been piling on Mavima to turnaround the fortunes of NRZ.
“We have since communicated with the auditor-general to launch a forensic audit on the NRZ. She will then determine which independent auditing firm to appoint to have oversight of the process. I can, however, confirm that heads will definitely roll if corruption is unearthed,” Mavima said.
A forensic audit is an examination and evaluation of either a firm’s or individual’s financial information for use as evidence in court. A forensic audit can be conducted in order to prosecute a party for fraud, embezzlement or other financial claims. The forensic audit mulled at the NRZ is expected to cover the past five years, from 2011 to 2016.
The forensic audit, among other things, would look into NRZ’s procurement system, revenue collection mechanisms at its properties and estates and the current staff levels with an aim of weeding out ghost workers.
A report of the NRZ accounts department, done in 2014 by the auditor-general, established that the parastatal was generating annual revenue of US$91,2 million, but incurring costs of US$103 million. The passenger unit had annual revenues of US$3,2 million, with costs at over three times at US$10,9 million.
Kamurayi Moyo, president of the Zimbabwe Railways Workers Union, said unions welcomed the forensic audit.
“We, as unions, are the ones who had requested a forensic audit of the NRZ from the Transport Minister, Jorum Gumbo, and that has always been our request…
We urgently need to embark on a forensic audit and we fully subscribe to that view,” he said.
“Moyo was evasive when asked when workers who downed tools in March would return to work, as the industrial action they had embarked on nears almost three months with no signs of an end.
The NRZ is saddled with a US$70 million debt in salary arrears, while it is also has other debts to the tune of US$144 million.
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