Gwanda town council yesterday suspended five officials from its treasury department after an internal audit unearthed gross financial irregularities in the municipality.
Council instituted internal audits after receiving tip-offs from residents about alleged corrupt activities.
The local authority resolved to start with the treasury department where corruption was said to be rife.
Mayor Lionel DeNecker of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC yesterday confirmed the move.
“Residents approached council with tip-offs, citing irregularities within departments,” he said.
“Councillors then instructed the town clerk to look into the departments hence we started off with the treasury department,” he said.
“Though internal audit is still ongoing, we have discovered irregularities with the revenue counters.
“So far, five people have been suspended pending full investigations.”
But the mayor was not at liberty to disclose the amounts involved saying, “Full details would be made available soon after investigations are concluded.”
De Necker added that the internal investigations were separate from those instituted by the Local Government, Urban and Rural Development ministry on the Bulawayo City Council.
He said for transparency and fairness, an independent board of inquiry had been set up, and the local authority had also invited external auditors from Bulawayo to help with investigations.
He said a computer expert had been engaged to sift through the revenue software.
He appealed to residents not to enter into illegal payment deals with any council department.
“We say to residents that if you are short on money for bills, please do not enter into any illegal deal with council workers to pay half the bill or to erase the bills totally,” he said.
Corruption is said to be rife in most local authorities and government is currently investigate a number of councils including Chitungwiza and Bulawayo.
MDC-T has also launched an investigation into councils it controls following complaints of corruption.