AG raises red flag on NRZ operations

National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) continues to post staggering losses with a government audit revealing that the troubled parastatal risks collapsing as it recorded accumulated loss of USD$ 431 976 333 in 2018.

The parastatal has been clamouring for a bailout from the government and battles to keep its aging fleet of trains on the rails.

According to the Auditor General Mildred Chiri, in her latest report, NRZ future was uncertain.

“I draw your attention to the fact that National Railways of Zimbabwe is in a net current liability position of USD 286 427 125 (2017: USD 256 535 751). The Railways also incurred a net loss of USD 43 782 929 (2017: 51 992 503) contributing to an accumulated loss of USD 431 976 333.

“This accumulated loss and net current liability position, along with other matters as set forth in the notes indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt over the Railways’ ability to continue as a going concern,” Chiri said.

Chiri also noted that the parastatal had no insurance for “locomotives, wagons, railway line, and immovable properties”.

In response, the management said, “ a tender was awarded to an insurance company for the insurance of wagons, coaches, passengers and sensitive traffic. The organisation has adopted a phased approach to insurance, based on the available resources.”

The Auditor General also revealed that NRZ had lost most of its properties and land to illegal occupants, with some occupying the properties since 2000.

“My review of the investment property register indicated that the land was vacant,” said Chiri.

She said the records of the parastatal state there are buildings that were illegally constructed on its land.

“According to the records, there were tenants who had constructed buildings on land belonging to NRZ,” said Chiri.

“Mr Fichaine claimed to have bought a plot at Rly Reserve at (Umsweswe) ,Muzwezwe near Kadoma, in 2009 but there was no documented proof. A number of tenants have been living at Woolandale Farm at Khami Siding since 2000,” said Chiri.

“There are illegal tenants occupying residential homes at Banket and Odzi Siding almond Mutare rail line. The Apostolic church occupies a stand at Norton Station 1337.”

The NRZ management said action was being taken to resolve the issue.

“The stands are being attended to by management case by case and corrective action is being taken,” said NRZ management.

To date, the company is, according to management, owing over $100 000 in salary arrears.

During its glory days in the 1990s, the parastatal used to move 18 million tonnes of freight annually but the figure has since plummeted.

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