Audit exposes Gweru council rot

A GOVERNMENT audit has exposed massive rot at Gweru City Council, where top managers awarded themselves 320 litres of fuel each and transport allowances ranging between $600 and $800 every month, Southern Eye has learnt.

BY Stephen Chadenga

The audit that was conducted by the Local Government ministry between July 3 and July 15 this year also showed that the council managers were drawing some of the fuel for their private vehicles.

Hamutendi Kombayi

Hamutendi Kombayi

“Council senior managers were double dipping when they were entitled to both 320 litres of fuel and transport allowances ranging between $615 to $800 per month,” part of the audit report read.

“Management were at times drawing up fuel from the council central stores for both private and council pool vehicles under their custody.”

The report further showed that management at the local authority were en-cashing their excess leave days while employee salaries were in arrears.

It also showed that council staff were upgraded and promoted without following proper procedures causing financial constraints and the wage bill to balloon.

According to the report there were anomalies in the way industrial and commercial stands were advertised and sold.

“Commercial, industrial and institutional stands were advertised as stands available for sale on cash on a first come first serve basis, yet some of the stands were sold on credit terms without authority from council,” the report said.

The report also indicated that officials appointed to act in senior posts lacked minimum qualifications for such positions. Gweru has only two substantive positions, that of the director of finance and town clerk.

“Many officials appointed to act in these key positions were lacking minimum competencies and did not possess relevant required qualifications,” the report said.

Currently, the local authority is being managed by a caretaker commission appointed by the government following the suspension of mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and his entire team of 18 councillors on allegations of abuse of council resources, incompetence and corruption.

Although the councillors have contested the move and won a High Court reprieve, the government has defied the order to reinstate them.

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