The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has called for Parliament to set up an impartial and independent audit team to probe local authorities.
BPRA coordinator, Rodrick Fayayo, said once established that body should take over from audit teams set up under the Local Government ministry, which he described as partisan.
Last month, Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo announced government was currently auditing local authorities throughout the country.
“Minister Chombo should let Parliament appoint and mandate the audit committee with clear terms of reference, instead of the team led by his ministry,” he said.
“The audit committee should be non-partisan, autonomous and should operate in a transparent manner. For fair auditing to be done, impartial and objective audit teams should be set up and not the ones led by Chombo.” But, Chombo shot down the suggestion, saying his ministry was operating according to “the book”.
“As a ministry, we are carrying out a systems and procedure audit, which can only be done by the ministry because the systems used at local authorities are put in place by the Ministry,” he said.
“Local authorities have their own internal audits which they also use from time to time.” Chombo added his ministry also had external auditors.
“We also have auditors from Ernst and Young who can be called in to audit local authorities and then present a report to the ministry,” he said.
“Therefore, I do not understand what exactly the problem is.”
Auditing of local authorities is a national project meant to stem corruption and ensure they stick to government-set service delivery salary ratio of 70-30%.