MUTARE City Council’s internal auditors have exposed massive fraud indicating that the local authority lost more than $30 000 in a well-orchestrated residential stands scam allegedly involving a senior employee identified as Hewitt Prescott Baison.
REPORT BY OBEY MANAYITI STAFF REPORTER
According to a council report, between February 2009 and May 2012, Baison, who works in the finance department, received money from more than 350 home seekers who were intending to be allocated stands in one of Mutare’s developing high-density residential area and pocketed the bulk of the money after he allegedly tampered with the records.
According to the report, 359 receipts were under-receipted and this constituted 359 counts committed by the accused. The total amount prejudiced by under receipting amounted to $26 877.
In its overall comment, the audit team concluded that there was gross lack of supervision and the general financial regulations and accounting policies governing receipts of funds were not adhered to.
“Audit is greatly concerned on why it took years for the scandal to be unearthed and for the net to close in on the accused. Therefore it is in the eyes of the audit that the other colleagues in the whole structure can at times be severally and jointly liable to this housing project for the misappropriation and conversion to personal use of public funds.”
Part of the report reads: “Audit managed to establish that a total of $30 957 was prejudiced for Mutare Private Companies between February 2009 and May 2012. The accused used different fraudulent and forgery techniques to commit the crime and these were under receipting, tearing bottom copies from the used receipt books before banking, under-banking and quoting and referring transactions of two beneficiaries to one receipt.” The audit report was initially handed over to the city’s Director of Housing and Community Services Department and copied to town clerk Obert Muzawazi and the Human Resources Department late last year before it was presented to the audit committee on January 18 this year.