Lovemore Lubinda

Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere is taking no prisoners in getting local authorities off greed officials; this comes after his ministry’s audit uncovered that City of Harare council bosses continued to earn obscene salaries, and the resultant suspension of acting Town Clerk.

Acting Town clerk Josephine Ncube was given marching orders by Harare mayor His Worship Bernard Manyenyeni after she failed to heed earlier calls by the minister to cut obscene salaries. The failure to observe the directive has reportedly seen the local authority being prejudiced of more than $550 000 in greedy perks and salaries awarded to the bosses.

Kasukuwere is on record calling for severe punishment on those implicated in corruption and mismanagement of public funds. His calls came after some earlier audit reports in many local authorities across the country revealed rampant abuse of resources, wasteful expenditures, and poor corporate governance.

At last week’s full council meeting councillors also expressed concern over the city management’s lackadaisical approach to audit reports. Councillor Hebert Gomba told the full house that the allegations being made by the report need council’s full attention.

Councillor Wilton Janjazi weighted in adding that council should be kept informed as to how much is given in salaries, bonuses and retrenchment packages.

Meanwhile, City of Harare’s risk management arm, the audit committee last year expressed worry over the non implementation of its resolutions, the move that has seen the local authority lose thousands through fraud and theft by its corrupt employees.

The audit committee chairperson councillor Enock Mupamaonde said the recommendations by his committee which is council’s loss control unit should be implemented timeously in order to curb revenue leakages. According to the minutes from the a full council meeting last year, the chair drew council’s attention to the minutes from his committee where city had lost revenue amounting to $70000 within a period of 13 days due to theft of fuel.

He further reported on the financial leakages through fake business licences and fake commuter omnibus rank discs. “He then requested the acting Town Clerk Josephine Ncube to ensure that heads of departments implement the committee’s resolutions falling under their respective departments without delay,” read part of the minutes.

This is not the first time in which the authority had lost revenue through corruption. The committee’s minutes dated 8 March 2016 reported that its investigations revealed irregularities on the banking and receipting of maternity fees in three council clinics prejudicing the local authority.

The house heard that clerical officers at Mufakose, Kambuzuma, and Hatcliffe receipted lower amounts in the books and pocketed the difference. It was also alleged that in some instances there were missing duplicate receipts that were supposed to have been filed and the recording of same receipt numbers on two maternity patients.

The local authority has been raddled with a lot of underhand dealings particularly in the procurement division, parking section, and in the land and stands allocation. It had also failed to audit its accounts in time, a move viewed by many as a recipe for bad corporate governance and corruption.

Combined Harare Residents Association chairperson Simbarashe Moyo says; “Auditing accounts is a statutory requirement for every business more so public offices. No wonder why there allegations of revenue leakages and corruption in council.”

Meanwhile, Auditor General Mildred Chiri’s 2015 report on local authorities across the country uncovered massive corruption fleecing them millions o dollars. It also showed that most councils were not up to date with their audited financial statements, and/or had multiple bank accounts whose reconciliations were not up to date as well.