Councillors have accused acting town treasurer Morris Mutema of incompetence and of “cooking figures to get the job done”.
“He is definitely not the man for the job, he is incapable of handling the pressures of the finance department and has failed dismally to produce results to our satisfaction. We have noticed a trend of cooking figures in his proposed budget,” said Councillor Weston Masiya.
The statement comes after the local authority postponed for the second time an all stakeholders’ budget consultative meeting citing a poorly prepared draft budget by the Mutema-led treasury department which they rejected.
According to documents leaked to NewsDay, in the rejected draft Mutema had indicated the local authority had bought two generators worth $8 397 and had already spent $292 080.
However, in the corrected version the value of generators had been whittled down to $4 970 and total expenditure to $247 475.
“Someone is cooking figures in the finance department and we demand to know how all of a sudden the generators have become cheaper when they were bought months ago and how all of a sudden we have spent less in the second draft budget than the first,” said a councillor who refused to be named.
Chairperson of the finance committee Queenly Chitopo confirmed the budget had been delayed because councillors were not satisfied with the document which was produced by Mutema’s office.
Mutema has been acting treasurer since June, after Albert Zingwe was sent on forced leave on allegations of corruption and fraud. Although Zingwe has returned to his office, he is still on the sidelines amid indications that council has opened new investigations against the treasurer.
Meanwhile management is struggling to justify expenditure on generators, laptops, printers, office equipment and motor cycles which were not in the 2010 budget.
Councillors said town clerk, Emmanuel Musara, attempted to put a media gag on councillors whom he asked not to discuss the rejected draft budget with journalists. Mutema confirmed the town clerk had also gagged all departmental heads.
“We can no longer speak to the press. Council now has one official spokesman, who is the town clerk,” said Mutema.