An internal audit report by the Chitungwiza Municipality has revealed how suspended Town Clerk George Makunde fleeced the local authority of revenue due to ‘double dipping’ and abuse of office.
The audit report was carried out following suspicion of illegal activities in the human resources department.
The suspended Town Clerk, according to the report, made council to pay for his private rentals and utility bills yet this was not provided for in his conditions of service.
“From 2014, an amount totaling to US$2 052.08 was being paid by council for the Town Clerk’s private personal utility bills and rent but this was not provided for in his condition of service;” reads the audit report.
The report revealed that council would make monthly deposits of US$1 900 into the account of one T. Sibanda (Stanbic Bank Account Number 02220629634010).
A monthly bank deposit of US$85.89 would be made into a ZETDC Stanbic Bank account while another monthly deposit of US$66.19 was being made into a Harare City Council bank account.
“Please note that these payments were being made for the Town Clerk who was staying in a council owned House Number 1 Edison Crescent Hatfield. This also resembles double dipping on the part of the Town Clerk. It was said that the money would then be recovered from his salary entitlement but no proof of such deductions could be obtained,” read the audit report.
The report also unearthed that from January 1 to December 2013, Makunde accrued an overpayment of more than US$35 000.
“From 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, the Town Clerk had accrued $53 098.76 as salaries but he was paid US$88 619.30 resulting in an overpayment of $US35 520.54 for that period. This can be regarded as a soft loan or advance salary which was not approved by council. No recovery of these over-payment was seen by audit,” read the report.
It also came out in the report that Makunde in December 2013, ordered the Human Resources Department “to process US$ 7 000 for him and he was paid this amount without council approval”.
Makunde was in September last year suspended by Chitungwiza Mayor, Lovemore Maiko over allegations of corruption and mis-governance at the Chitungwiza Municipality.
Meanwhile, the Chitungwiza Residents and Ratepayers Association ((CHIRRA) on January 1 launched a formal report with the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) seeking for a full investigation into Makunde’s conduct.
CHRRA Chairperson, one AJ Taderera said the outcome of the internal audit report calls for serious investigations and actions.
The residents’ association is also requesting for investigations into the conduct of department heads and managers amid suspicion that they were working in cahoots with Makunde to fleece council.
Read the letter from CHIRRA, “This gives rise to our long held suspicion that there is blatant misuse of public funds at council due to corruption and lack of proper supervision on department heads and managers.
“We therefore humbly request your good office to thoroughly investigate all departments and help stop this rot.”
Government has already set up a tribunal to probe Makunde’s misconduct at Chitungwiza municipality.
Makunde said he was unaware of the CHIRRA letter to ZACC.
However, Chitungwiza Mayor, Lovemore Maiko confirmed the development adding that restoring transparency and accountability at Chitungwiza Municipality was a top priority.
He expressed concern that service delivery had suffered mainly due to corruption hence the need to act against corrupt individuals.