Police Commissioner Blocks Audit

Harare,- The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, who blocked government auditors from accessing police records earlier this month, is said to be busy issuing out force numbers to non-police officers in a desperate bid to cover up the existence of ghost workers.

Police sources told a private radio on Thursday: “The exercise started when the audit process was announced. So far even cleaners and a lot of constabularies have been given force numbers.”

“Most of these officers who are being given force numbers, are just getting new uniforms but they have been told that they have no arresting powers.”

Chihuri was last week said to have  instructed senior officers to deny government auditors access to police records, in a move seen as an attempt at covering up for the huge number of ghost workers.

“There is a huge discrepancy, the last official statics put the number of trained police officers at 35 000 but now a figure of 50 000 is being announced,” said the sources.

The Minister of Finance Tendai Biti is said to have told Chihuri to justify why he wanted him to release money from the budget to cater for 50 000 officers if he did not want to co-operate with the auditors.

“He is using the delay to put his house in order,” said the source.

The Minister Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment recently admitted to have hired 10 000 ghost workers.

The Ministry of Public Service has embarked on an audit of the civil  service and its payroll, in a bid to rid the system of massive corruption. The audit was expected to disclose tens of thousands of "ghost" workers. It involved a physical count of all civil servants, excluding the army, which is not classified under the Public Service.

Although the audit was approved by cabinet, it met strong resistance from Zanu (PF), which is being accused of paying a big chunk of the taxpayers’ money to its youth militia, most of whom are too under-qualified to be civil servants and are only used to terrorise voters at election time.

For one to be a police officer, one is required to be a holder of minimum educational requirements of five O level passes, including Maths and English.

When contacted for a comment the Minister of Public Service, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, said, “We are looking into the matter but we will publicise everything once we are through with the audit.” Radio VOP