Source: Council salaries probe tribunal requests more time – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2017
A TRIBUNAL tasked to investigate alleged unsanctioned astronomical salaries earned by Harare City Council’s top brass has requested for additional three weeks to wind up its probe.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni told a full council meeting last week that the team, chaired by retired High Court judge, Justice George Smith, had not yet completed its investigations which were initially set to end in April this year.
“I have received a letter from the tribunal dealing with the salaries issue requesting for three more weeks to ensure they can cover the ground sufficiently. With the indulgence and concurrence of this council, I agree to their request,” Manyenyeni said.
The tribunal, which has two lawyers, two chartered accountants and a human resources expert, has been mandated to probe allegations that former town clerk Tendai Mahachi, acting town clerk Josephine Ncube and other directors illegally paid themselves allowances.
The probe came about after a government audit unearthed massive financial irregularities at the local authority.
The government audit revealed that Mahachi and six other senior council officials allegedly claimed more than $1 million through dubious allowances and perks — while the rest of the workforce had not been paid.
According to the report, Mahachi and three other senior directors allegedly siphoned $282 000 from council without explanation.
The audit stated that $282 000 was transferred via real-time gross settlement systems by finance director Tendai Kwenda to Mahachi and three other executive members’ personal bank accounts for unknown reasons.
“The intended purpose or use of this money was not documented nor explained to audit by the finance controller as at date of audit as there was no audit trail,” part of the report read.
The report was handed over to Manyenyeni at a special council meeting early this year by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who demanded immediate action.
According to the report, sometime in July 2015, five executive managers were paid unbudgeted-for on-call allowances amounting to $173 880.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF councillor for Kambuzuma, Samuel Chinyowa, was last week bestowed the alderman status after serving as councillor for a collective period of 10 years.
As an alderman, Chinyowa will now be given special treatment which includes hosting a reception for him in recognition of his service to council as well as get a special communication platform befitting his stature.
He will also serve as adviser to the mayor on issues to do with service delivery and management of the local authority.