Town clerk throwing spanners: Audit committee

MEMBERS of Kwekwe City Council’s audit committee are reportedly facing serious hurdles in their efforts to deal with two external audit reports which allege the local authority could have lost $1 million through financial leakages.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Committee sources said a meeting set for last Tuesday failed to take off after town clerk Emmanuel Musara and his staff refused to recognise a set of crucial minutes recorded during a meeting with an unnamed UDCORP external auditor.

“We held an exit meeting with the auditor and he explained to us that they failed to find any supporting documents or reconciliation documents for withdrawals amounting to $1 million in 2011 and 2012. Those minutes for that meeting were supposed to be part of the audit committee so that we could make recommendations to council. We failed because officers from Musara’s office said it was an informal meeting and, therefore, nothing was recorded,” said a source.

kwekwe-03

There is now a standoff between management and councillors with the latter accusing management of scuttling the tabling of the audit report for scrutiny.

The auditors in their 2011 and 2012 audit reports allege that vital documents also went missing and were not handed over to the audit team when requested.

“Except for any adjustments that we may have found necessary had we been able to obtain sufficient audit evidence on the issues highlighted above . . . We were unable to confirm the accuracy and completeness of cash and cash equivalents disclosed in the financial statements since there was a significant number of unreconciled items in the form of under banks and over banks. The total unreconciled cash amounts to $467 456,00,” part of the 2012 audit report reads.

Audit committee chairperson Weston Masiya confirmed the impasse.

“We have had a few glitches on how we should handle the reports and I can confirm that our efforts seem to be facing resistance, but I can assure residents that we are not going to have wool pulled over our heads. We are going to get to the bottom of this,” Masiya said.

A lawyer, who refused to be named, said councillors should charge the town clerk with misconduct in line with the Urban Councils Act.

“The town clerk is the chief executive of a municipality. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the city’s affairs. In terms of the Urban Councils Act, the town clerk is a technocrat who reports to council through the relevant municipal structures, that is the mayor and the full council.

“The town clerk, is thus, obliged to provide periodic reports of council activities to the full council, just in the same manner that the managing director of a company reports to the board of directors during board meetings. The town clerk can, therefore, not refuse to permit a forensic audit to be conducted in the event that such an audit has been sanctioned and authorised by the full council. In fact, if the town clerk unlawfully and unreasonably refuses to obey council resolutions, he can be charged with misconduct in terms of the Urban Councils Act,” he said.

Our Partners:   NewsDay   The Independent   TheStandard  MyClassifieds