A FORENSIC audit has unearthed how former Amnesty International Zimbabwe (Amnesty) executives allegedly pocketed US$700 000 in unexplained allowances and six ghost workers, a court heard.
This was detailed in a matter in which Amnesty is demanding a total of US$674 427, 19 from ex-executive director Cousin Zilala, ex-finance and administration officer Sibongile Zimbeva and former board chairperson Takesure Musiiwa.
In the High Court application, Amnesty wants Zilala to pay back US$148 609,08, Zimbeva US$42 344,82, and Musiiwa US$101 748,29. The amounts were established to have been misappropriated individually by the trio during their tenure.
They also want the three to jointly account for US$51 725 for unlawful payments made to staff bank accounts outside the payroll and US$330 000 financial prejudice suffered by Amnesty following irregular payments made to companies known as Al Shams Global Limited and KMH.
Amnesty has also demanded reimbursement of 61 880 litres of fuel drawn between 2015 and February 2018 which was unaccounted for with interest calculated from December 1, 2018 to date of full payment.
According to court papers, Zilala was the executive director from May 1, 2007 to March 21, 2018 when he resigned, Zimbeva was finance and administration officer from September 1, 2007 and resigned on December 5, 2018 and Musiiwa was a former board chairperson between 2007 and 2018, excluding 2016 and 2017, but was always signatory to all Amnesty bank accounts.
The court heard that sometime in 2018, Amnesty was recommended by Amnesty International to engage Deloitte and Touche to conduct a forensic audit and investigations of its financial activities for the period January 1, 2015 to February 28, 2018.
The court heard that Zimbeva and Musiiwa participated in the audit, but Zilala refused saying he was no longer employed by the organisation.
The audit report made factual findings that Amnesty had suffered serious financial prejudice owing to the acts and omissions of the trio whose job descriptions mandated them to manage and account for finances as well as existing policies.
It was established that Zilala, Zimbeva and Musiiwa had benefited from the various amounts from non-contractual allowances, collected and unaccounted cash withdrawals, outstanding loan balances and non-contractual and unauthorised fuel and mileage allowances.
Amnesty also accrued a tax liability of US$101 748,29 as a result of the trio’s failure to deduct tax for staff loans, unauthorised allowances or benefits.
The court heard that Zimbeva admitted to her improprieties during her disciplinary hearing whose determination is now final.