Doctoring of minutes rocks council

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KWEKWE City Councillors have accused committee officers of “doctoring” council meeting minutes to allegedly scupper investigations into a suspected $1 million fraud case.

by BLESSED MHLANGA

Speaking during a full council meeting recently, Kwekwe audit committee chairman Weston Masiya had no kind words for supporting staff after they allegedly recorded minutes which did not reflect what happened during a meeting on April 9.

On that day, the audit committee had met to discuss two contentious external audit reports from Urban Development Corporation (UDCORP) in which auditors claimed they had been denied access to vital documents by council management.

UDCORP concluded that nearly $1 million could have disappeared from council coffers between 2011 and 2012 because of the missing documents they failed to make conclusive findings.

The committee then resolved to invite UDCORP to appear before it and explain the type of documents they were denied access to among other issues.

Masiya said the minutes presented before full council did not reflect the decision arrived by his committee and felt it was a deliberate ploy to mislead council. He took issue with a statement in the minutes which read: “Although it could not be concluded with certainty that auditors were being denied information in view of the internal auditors explanation, members finally agreed to wait for the explanation of the external auditors when they are invited.”

Masiya said his committee was certain UDCORP was denied information because the audit report was clear and at no time was there doubt in his committee that management could have played hide and seek with vital financial documents.

Masiya was supported by his deputy Kandros Lawe and committee members who only adopted the document after the changes were effected.

Acting town clerk Lucia Mkandla defended her subordinates saying they were not capable of doctoring minutes although she acknowledged mistakes were bound to happen.

“This is the purpose of having the minutes confirmed before they are adopted so that corrections can be made where mistakes are noticed. It is not policy to doctor documents,” she said.

During the March full council meeting, an angry councillor Vongaishe Mupereri accused committee officers of intentionally “doctoring” minutes of his housing committee and called on council to invest on recorders to avoid misleading councillors.

He said the resolution was repeated clearly yet committee officers appeared to have deliberately captured it wrongly just to impress council bosses and mislead councillors.