Make risk and compliance officers compulsory in Govt depts – Expert

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Politics | 0 comments

Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa

Government has been urged to make compliance officers compulsory at every Government or quasi-Government building, to ensure that there is strict adherence to safety regulations.

The call has come in the wake of a fire that destroyed cotton bales worth millions of dollars at Parrogate Checheche Depot in Chipinge.

Investigations to establish the cause of the fire are still underway.

The fire is one of the many which have been seen in recent months, other across the country.

Mpilo Central Hospital, Mbare Hostels, Glen View SME Centre, Karoi SME Centre, Plumtree Quarantine Centre at Plumtree High School are among the places that have been gutted by fires in the past.

Mahwani Kangausaru, a Namibian-based corporate governance expert said, “It’s high time our government makes it compulsory that every government department, quasi-government institution and companies employ a risk and compliance officer. We should move with time. Several government and private infrastructure have been destroyed by fire.”

Asked if we have any compliance officers, Mr Kangausaru said; “We have but not enough and they also have limited experience.”

“A Risk and Compliance officer reports directly to a Board Committee. It’s a position at director or Manager level. Some organisations even split the position to Risk Head and Compliance head,” added Mr Kangausaru.

A compliance officer, or a compliance manager, ensures that a company complies with its outside regulatory and legal requirements and internal policies and by-laws.

They are responsible for ensuring a company’s practices are compliant with any relevant laws, regulations and licensing requirements.

They also advise key stakeholders on a range of matters, including: compliance; auditing; health and safety; financial and other types of risk; and legislation.

Mr Kangausaru said SADC currently has a shortage of risk and compliance officers, most of them relocated to South Africa when the country made it compulsory to have the

On the local front, Mr Kangausaru said, “Recently, Lafarge CEO Precious Murena-Nyika was fired for compliance issues when the company was fined 1 million USD. This is how critical the position is, as the head of the organisation you are bound to employ a seasoned officer with enough experience.”

He further highlighted how compliance issues have affected the government and State-owned Enterprises.

He said, “Our government has been losing a lot of money due to these failures. The Ministry of Transport once purchased snow graders. Had the person who bought those graders complied with set procedures that could not have happened. Similar to paying for goods and services which are never delivered as is always highlighted by Mrs Mildred Chiri, the Auditor General in her reports.

The Chivayo/ZESA saga, burning schools, doctors quarters. All these issues emanate from failure to deploy a head who makes sure that things are done the right way.”

There is precedent which backs the suggestion, after it was observed that procurement loopholes are fueling corruption, Government enacted the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, which made it mandatory for every department to have a procurement officer.

According to the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, this has brought order in the manner in which resources are used at public institutions.