GOVERNMENT has dispatched auditors to investigate alleged financial impropriety at Binga Rural District Council following a request by a local legislator.
BY SILAS NKALA
Binga North MP, Prince Dubeko Sibanda, last February, wrote to Rural Development and Preservation of Culture and Heritage minister Abednigo Ncube asking government to probe top council officials, amid reports they had squandered over $100 000 without a council resolution.
Sibanda said, as an MP of the area, he had discovered rampant maladministration at the council, which was compromising service delivery.
He said the alleged abuse of funds was highlighted by the high travelling allowances, compared to other local authorities, contributing to council’s liquidity and operational challenges.
“The audit team went to Binga on Tuesday and is still on the ground, but I smell a rat,” Sibanda said yesterday.
“I asked the permanent secretary in the ministry to give me the composition and terms of reference for the audit team as an interested party, but she is not forthcoming. There are clear cut criminal offences there, which I think the audit will merely cover up.”
Ncube could not be reached for comment.
Sibanda’s letter stated that while on average other rural district councils pay about $55 in travel allowances a day, Binga pays $150 a day.
He said he was told that the council chairperson, Dube Munkombwe and chief executive officer, Joshua Muzamba in October and November 2015, had grossed over $5 000 per month between them for undeclared trips, whose purposes remain questionable.
Sibanda accused the local authority officials of illegally drawing salaries with hidden perks.
He claimed that in March last year, Munkombwe defied a Cabinet directive to slash executives’ salaries and unilaterally increased the CEO’s salary by 45% without council approval.
Sibanda also alleged that sometime in 2015, some executives at the local authority serviced personal loans borrowed from Sedco using council funds, as if these were council loans without a council resolution.
Sibanda added this allegedly prejudiced the council of over $100 000 and there were allegations that funds intended to be paid to the council by a non-governmental organisation, Carbon Green never reached the local authority’s coffers.