GWANDA Town Council has suspended three top officials in the housing and treasury departments for allegedly defrauding the local authority of close to $5 000 after billing a non-existent company.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe
The suspensions are said to have been effected late last week.
Those suspended are housing director Sipho Mhlanga, deputy housing director — only identified as Khumalo — and acting treasurer Mtshado Dube. Sources within the municipality told NewsDay yesterday that the suspected fraud case was just a tip of the iceberg.
“The top officials in housing and treasury departments have been suspended in an alleged fraud case involving close to
$5 000,” the source said.
“The housing department embarked on a project to procure furniture and it withdrew $4 000.
“However, a further $5 000 was later withdrawn without supporting invoices and vouchers.
“It is not known where the money went to.
“Council had no choice, but to suspend the three to facilitate investigations.”
When contacted for comment, Gwanda town clerk Gilbert Mlilo could neither confirm nor deny the allegations saying the matter “is a domestic issue”.
“Where did you hear this from? The matter is a domestic issue and we don’t want publicity on it,” he said.
Some residents in Gwanda said the suspension was well known in the community and investigations could implicate several officials.
In March last year, the town council 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.