‘Audit report confirms looting’

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Kwekwe residents have hailed an audit committee report that condemned council’s financial systems, saying it confirms their fears the local authority finances were in shambles.

The local authority’s audit committee chaired by councillor Aaron Gwalazimba recently presented the adverse report before full council after going through the audit statement, saying it showed systems had totally collapsed.

Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers’ Association Development secretary-general Alex Homela said the report confirmed residents’ genuine fears funds were being looted by council management.

“We have been saying there are people stealing our money from council coffers and the mayor (Shadreck Tobaiwa) has accused us of harbouring political intentions, but here is an internal audit report which is detailing that financial systems have collapsed,” said Homela.

The audit report alleged acting city treasurer Morris Mutema, with the blessings of town clerk Emmanuel Musara, was making payments without following laiddown council regulations.

“Internal Auditor noted that there was non-compliance with laid-down procedures as there were some payment vouchers which were not signed by the originator, accounting officer, assistant treasurer . . . failure to append the signature by one of the respective officers mentioned implies that payments are being processed without following laiddown procedures,” reads part of the audit report.

Council is still battling to end a protracted labour dispute in which former treasurer Albert Zingwe alleging he was victimised when he was fired from work and has also said the audit report vindicates him.

“The very same things that appear in the internal audit report are the same things that I was found guilty of and fired, but as we speak the people who fired me are doing those things and it’s not a crime,” said Zingwe.

The mayor tried to downplay allegations financial systems at the beleaguered local authority had collapsed and tried to have Gwalazimba withdraw his statement in council chambers.

“When you say systems have collapsed and we have journalists in the gallery, they will have a field day. You must try and preserve the image of the local authority, especially when in public,” said Tobaiwa.