Report by Nigel Pfunde and Abel Karowangoro
PERMANENT Secretary for District Development Fund (DDF) in the Office of the President and Cabinet, James Jonga, is in the eye of a storm following allegations of abuse of office, looting of the parastatal’s equipment and other underhand dealings, Zim Morning Post can reveal.
Zim Morning Post can reveal that Jonga, who has been at the helm of the parastatal for more than two decades, has been abusing equipment, tillage and borehole facilities meant to benefit the poor.
He allegedly abused facilities and diverted equipment for personal use and is also fingered in some underhand dealings involving equipment hire from a handpicked company.
Investigations established that in 2014, Jonga requested $400 000 from government, under the pretext that DDF did not have adequate equipment to offer tillage services to new farmers in the 2014-15 summer cropping season as the bulk of it need repairs.
This publication could not immediately ascertain the exact amount that Treasury released to fund this request, but we can authoritatively report that he took some of the equipment to his farm in Selous farming area.
The equipment include bulldozers, tractors, lorries and dam scoops among others.
“DDF has been milked until it broke.
“Equipment is meant for sustaining equitable rural development but Jonga keeps the equipment at his farm and gives preference to his relatives to carry maize and other activities,” added our mole.
“At that material time when he made the request, DDF had 530 tractors he claimed that only 102 were operational, with 236 requiring major repairs.
“He went to claim that 192 had minor problems and that they had 402 ploughs but only 83 were functional with 172 having major breakdowns and 147 with minor defects,” narrated our source.
Our moles on the ground confirmed that part of the equipment including tractors and lorries are still there to date,and used for his farming activities where he specialises in maize production.
It is also further alleged that Jonga was having underhand dealings with a company called Heingate owned by Danny Kasukuwere, a brother to former Zan PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.
“What they do is they hire a contractor that he handpicked.
“Its called Heingate to provide the same services that they have capacity to carry out arguing that the DDF equipment has defects.
“In actual fact this so called defects are minor and it would be cheaper to repair.
“They then inflate the hiring fees and share the spoils with the other members of the syndicate.
“This is happening for long no wonder why you see this man is one of the richest man in the country but he is clever and takes a back seat.
“I can put it to you that in 1998 when Mai Mujuru was still in charge of his parent ministry, he was already driving an American imported Chevloret.
“Explain how a civil servant can afford such luxury,” explained our source.
Jonga is also accused of pampering his boss, the Chief Secretary Misheck Sibanda by diverting equipment to his farm in Kwekwe.
He is believed to have maintained an iron fist in running the parastatal and at one time he transferred at least 15 employees on accusations of leaking information the the media.
The he purge followed a series of stories in the press on corrupt practices by his allies alleged to have abused tillage and borehole drilling facilities meant to benefit poor .Relentless efforts to get a comment drew a blank at the time of writing after his mobile phone when unanswered for the better half of the day from both our mobile and land lines.
The mandate of the District Development Fund is to facilitate rapid and equitable sustainable rural development and helping ensure food security.