Makandiwa and two other churches, have been sucked into a US$2 million storm after receiving Government public viewing area (PVA) television screens in an unsanctioned donation.
Indications are that Government never approved the donation of 40 PVA television screens to UFIC, Celebration Church, Zimbabwe Christian Church and other organisations by the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry.
|United Family International Church’s Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa, has been caught in a $2 million scandal involving an illegal donation by the government to his church.|
In her 2013 audit report, Auditor-general Mrs Mildred Chisi said: “In 2010 the ministry bought 40 PVA television screens for US$2 million from China. PVA screens were meant to provide viewing for the public during the (Fifa Soccer) World Cup that was hosted by South Africa in 2010. The PVA screens were received well after the World Cup games. The ministry failed to record the PVA equipment in its master asset register.
“It would appear as if the ministry had no other plans for the screens after the World Cup games because it has since donated, without prior Treasury approval, some of the screens to churches for what was termed ‘religious tourism’, and other organisations.
“The State has not benefited financially from the current arrangement and I noted that there are no terms and conditions to ensure that the PVA screens are safeguarded from vandalism and abuse.” She recommended that the ministry immediately identify how the public can benefit from the PVA screens so that Government can recoup costs incurred in their purchase.
Responding to the Auditor-General’s findings, the ministry admitted it had not followed procedures in donating the screens to UFIC, ZCC Mbungo and Celebration Church.
“It is on that basis that churches such as UFIC, ZCC Mbungo and Celebration Church are key players in religious tourism. They receive an excess of 20 000 foreign visitors annually to their activities,” said the Tourism Ministry.
Both UFIC and ZCC confirmed receiving PVA screens as donations from the Tourism Ministry but would not give further details. UFIC spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufakunesu said the church got the screens in 2012 while ZCC spokesperson Mr Raymond Muringani said “we were given a PVA television screen by the Ministry of Tourism”.
Efforts to get a comment from Celebration Church were fruitless. ZimEye
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