A GOVERNMENT audit report on Mutare City Council has exposed massive rot and alleged underhand dealings which could have cost the local authority millions of dollars, NewsDay has learnt.
BY KENNETH NYANGANI
According to the report presented to Mutare councillors by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere last week, former acting mayor George Jerison drove off in his official mayoral Mercedes-Benz as part of his exit package in 2013 without approval of the local authority and parent ministry.
“The former acting mayor, Councillor George Jerison, was given an exit package of the Mercedes-Benz, registration number ACM 2894, in 2013 by council management when he left office. There was no documentation showing the minister’s approval on the matter,” read the report.
“The decision to issue a Mercedes-Benz to the former acting mayor was not sanctioned by council as the council’s finance committee chairperson, identified as Councillor K Kagoro, in the full council meeting held on August 19, 2014, highlighted the matter.”
The auditors also raised fears that there could be ghost workers on the council payroll after the numbers failed to tally with figures obtained from a staff head count exercise.
The council claims to have a workforce of 1 501 employees, which comprises 1 188 permanent workers, 250 contract workers and 63 students, but the physical head count confirmed 1 417 workers.
“The current total workforce, as aligned to the high monthly wage bill, is posing sustainability threats to council, which is depending on bank overdrafts and loans to sustain operations. Existence of ghost workers might not be ruled out due to the fact that other workers were not verified through head count,” the report read.
“Council was operating without a consolidated detailed organogram showing the approved staff establishment. Instead, it was relying on fragmented departmental structures. The fragmented pieces of organograms presented to audit did not provide the comprehensive number of approved staff establishment per department.”
The report added: “There was no equity in the manner in which salaries were being paid because payments were made upon employees’ request and management’s discretion. This made it difficult for the weak and unconnected employees as this would depend on the discretion of individual managers.”
The audit also revealed that senior managers, including those who obtained vehicle loans, were paid additional private mileage to the tune of $26 723 for the use of the vehicles on council business trips between February and October 2015 and also drew fuel from council besides being paid a fixed monthly transport allowance as reflected on their payslips.
The report also exposed double allocation of residential stands, among other alleged scams.