‘Council systems collapse’

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Financial systems, checks and balances within Kwekwe City Council’s treasury department have collapsed, an audit committee told a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Presenting the audit report, committee chairman Aaron Gwalazimba said they were pained by the levels of collapse of the financial systems under the authority of acting city treasurer Morris Mutema, pleading with fellow councillors to take action before it is too late.

“When this committee went through an internal audit report presented to us, we were shocked at the levels of collapse of financial systems in the local authority. We have brought this report to council to seek ways to ensure that this does not continue,” said Gwalazimba.

According to the report, Mutema with the blessing of town clerk Emmanuel Musara, continues to make cash payments from money collected directly from the rate hall in contravention of a council resolution adopted in 2009 that all payments be made through bank transfers and cheques.

Ironically, former treasurer Albert Zingwe was charged by Musara and found guilty of making cash payments in contravention of financial regulations and the 2009 resolution under which he was dismissed from work.

“It is shocking that Mutema is the one who authored these resolutions when he was the audit manager and now he is violating them with impunity and we want this stopped,” said Gwalazimba.

The audit report also revealed some payments were being made even without signatures of relevant people in contravention of financial procedures.

“The Internal Auditor noted that there was non-compliance with laid-down checking procedures as there were some payment vouchers which were not signed either by the originator, accounting officer and Assistant Director of Finance/Expenditure,” reads the council minutes.

The meeting reportedly degenerated into an exchange of words with Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa defending Mutema, accusing Gwalazimba of attacking the person of the acting treasurer.

“Your comments are ridiculous, Mayor. My committee is talking about systems that have collapsed and we are doing this in the spirit of protecting the ratepayers and not attacking persons here,” said Gwalazimba.