No tomorrow for them

Are the police investigating the Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, or not? First we had a story in the government mouthpiece, the Sunday Mail, saying the cops were after him because of some $20 million which is said to have disappeared from Interfin Bank.

Paul Bogaert
Paul Bogaert

And if there was any doubt about the veracity of this story, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed to the Reuters news agency that the cops were investigating Biti.

“There is an investigation going on but I can’t give any details at the moment,” he told the news agency on Sunday. By Monday morning Bvudzijena had made a u-turn. Not only was he denying that he had spoken to the Sunday Mail, but he was now saying he was unaware of any such probe against the finance minister.

It appears that, for once, sense prevailed. Anybody with half a brain could have told the police that there was no way Biti could be held responsible for the disappearance of money from a commercial bank. If the money is indeed missing, surely the investigating team should spend their energies talking to bank officials to find out who dipped their fingers into the till.

It is common knowledge that the police have, for some time now, been trying to get Biti. President Robert Mugabe himself is not an admirer of Biti. The minister of defence Emmerson Mnangagwa has threatened to send army generals to deal with Biti. Zanu (PF)-controlled ministries would like to see the back of Biti.

Why do they all hate him so much? Because the minister has been trying to force the government to bring about financial discipline and accountability, where, prior to 2009, there was none. He has made it abundantly clear that the gravy train stops at his door.

Several ministries have not presented audited accounts for many years. One only has to read the Auditor General’s annual reports to see the extent of the rot. Senior police officers have been spending money like there is no tomorrow – splashing out on luxury cars. Perhaps they realise there may well be no tomorrow for them unless they manage to do something about Biti.

This is not the first time there have been these “inspired leaks” from the cops that Biti is being investigated. It seems every time he presses a ministry to account for their expenditure, rumours swirl around about police investigations and his imminent arrest. Recently Mugabe accused Biti of “letting Bulawayo industries die” by not releasing $500,000 to resuscitate them. How utterly ridiculous. What Bulawayo, and other, industries need are proper economic policies, security of tenure, the rule of law and an enabling environment in which business can flourish.

Now that the police are no longer investigating Biti, we hope they will turn their attention to the serious business of fighting crime. Perhaps they could start with those on the wanted list, like the murderer Joseph Mwale. While they are still in investigating mood, they also might like to have a chat with some of our dishonourable MPs who stole public funds from the Constituency Development Fund.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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