via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Teachers lose $1m in housing scandal by Daniel Kachere 08 February 2014
A storm is brewing at a Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe housing project in Harare over alleged misuse of funds accrued from members’ contributions by the management committee over a period extending from 2009 to November 2013.
The management of TUZ’s Ushewokunze Housing Project, launched in 2003, in Waterfalls is accused of allegedly failing to account for over $1 million in members’ contributions.
Former Mashonaland Central TUZ co-ordinator Mr Bornface Poshai made the allegations in an interview on Thursday.
“Our members are disgruntled and request transparency over how the management committee used our contributions valued over $1 million. The committee is failing or not willing to account for the use of co-operative’s money and they have appointed an interim committee,” he said.
The Herald established that subscriptions are deducted via the Salary Service Bureau through an alleged funeral fund to an FBC account 1132597590216 which had a balance of $67 as at January 2, this year.
Members’ contributions are also deposited into an FBC account 6132597590166 which had a balance of $150 as at January 3 this year.
Mr Poshai alleged that contributors were victimised if they inquired about how their money. was used
Contacted for comment, TUZ chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo dismissed the allegations as sour grapes. “(Mr) Poshai is one of the misguided elements who want to tarnish the image of the TUZ. We fired him from his post of TUZ co-ordinator for Mashonaland Central in April 2013 and he has been texting messages threatening to destroy TUZ . . .” and take over as Harare province’s co-ordinator ahead of Mrs Loveness Svovanapasi,” he said.
“It would be difficult to claim or trace the usage of the money. Members are not allowed to question financial matters concerning the project according to a clause in their constitution which states that no members shall have a claim to share in the reserve fund except interims of Section 85 of the Co-operatives Societies Act. The reserve fund and any general or special reserves shall be invisible,” he said.
Mr Poshai said that he and other members of the co-operative approached TUZ’s chief executive, Mr Manuel Nyawo, over the issue.
Mr Nyawo responded to the members’ concerns by requesting for an audit to be carried out by a firm known as Empemafrica which turned out to be bogus, alleged Mr Poshai.
The Herald confirmed from the Public Accountants and Auditors Board (PAAB) that no such firm was registered by their board.
In a statement, Ms Molline Nhenjana, an employee at the Auditor-General’s Office confirmed that Empemafrica was not legally registered to carry out audits as per existing regulations.
“Preliminary checks with the Public Accountants and Auditor’s Board revealed that Empemafrica is not registered. A physical visit to the mentioned address on the audit report (89 Kwame Nkrumah Avenue) also revealed that they do not have such an organisation at their building,” reads part of the letter.
Ms Nhenjana said that the audit report was not accompanied by a management letter which should have highlighted control weaknesses.
“Financial statements seem not to have been prepared in accordance with international financial reporting standards. Comparative figures shown on the financial statements seem not to conform to International Accounting Standards 1(IASA1). The phrase ‘statement of comprehensive income for the year ended’ has been changed to ‘statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income’, she said.
She stated that depreciation disclosed was not according to the straight line method as per accounting policies, administrative expenses are not congruent with development on the ground and audit fees are not disclosed under expenditure for each year.
The disgruntled members recently wrote to the SSB advising that it stops the monthly deductions of the $80 subscription fees.
“We are kindly requesting for the cessation of the deduction of $80 per month for TUZ members with immediate effect against the background that the name that is used for purposes of deducting the money is wrong. The money is used towards a housing project supposedly owned by a TUZ’s top executive,” reads the letter.
Mr Nyawo dismissed the allegations by Mr Poshai and the Ushewokunze Housing Project beneficiaries.
“(Mr) Poshai is one of the misguided elements who want to tarnish the image of the TUZ. We fired him from his post of TUZ co-ordinator for Mashonaland Central in April 2013 and he has been texting messages threatening to destroy TUZ and take over as Harare province’s co-ordinator ahead of Mrs Loveness Svovanapasi,” he said.
Mr Nyawo said the audit was done by senior auditors who are registered but the documents supporting this were not yet available.