via Govt probes town clerks over offshore accounts Sunday, 05 January 2014 by Tinashe Farawo Sunday Mail
Government has set up a team to investigate reports that some town clerks and chief executives of cash-strapped local authorities are depositing the ridiculous salaries they have been siphoning into offshore accounts in a bid to avoid detection.
The setting up of the probe team comes a few weeks after the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ordered that salaries and benefits of top council officials be slashed by as much as 50 percent with immediate effect.
Before the directive, town clerks and chief executives of local authorities were believed to be earning between US$16 000 and US$20 000. However, it has since emerged that the figures could be much higher as some town clerks are said to be holders of offshore accounts into which their ridiculous salaries and other perks are deposited.
The scandalous salaries drawn from cash-strapped councils are in sharp contrast with the unabated decline in service delivery as most local authorities struggle to provide reliable water and sewer reticulation systems.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo confirmed the ongoing probe highlighting that results are expected to be made public within a fortnight.
“We have set up an investigation team to look into reports that some of the council bosses are holding offshore secret accounts to hide their scandalous salaries.
“We are expecting the results in the next week or two and we are going to make them public. Residents must know who is doing what with their hard-earned cash,” he said.
Dr Chombo also revealed that salaries of town clerks and chairpersons of local authorities will be made public shortly. Meanwhile, residents have warmly welcomed Government’s move with Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba saying: “As residents we welcome the development wholeheartedly because it will assist in cleansing local authorities of massive corruption and mismanagement of public funds by a few greedy individuals at the expense of service delivery.
“As residents we eagerly await the report of the probe team which we hope will help in restoring the confidence of citizens in local authorities.”