Audit exposes Gweru City Council rot

12 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views
Audit exposes Gweru City Council rot

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

Gweru City Council is losing thousands of dollars through double-dipping by senior management as well as flouting of tender procedures. 

This is contained in the minutes of an audit committee meeting held on January 27, 2020, which observed that acting town clerk, Mr Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe, received 3 286 litres of fuel between January 4, 2018, and June 8, 2019, more than ordinarily needed. Mr Chikwekwe is the substantive chamber secretary and is acting in the place of Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza who is on suspension.

“The chamber secretary was withdrawing more than his weekly allocations without filling the fuel withdrawal forms. From January 4, 2018, to June 8, 2019, he topped up 3 286 litres. On September 24 a Jeep Cherokee used by the chamber secretary then made a withdrawal of fuel, 87 litres, the purpose of withdrawal was written as top-up, to hand over the vehicle to former town clerk Mr (Daniel) Matawu,” reads part of the minutes.

“Again, on October 15, the same vehicle made another withdrawal of 59 litres and again for the purpose to hand over the vehicle to Mr Matawu.”

The audit further noted that there were situations where Mr Chikwekwe would withdraw fuel and also claim cash at the same time for the same journey. It concluded that the chamber secretary was withdrawing more than his weekly allocation and Mr Matawu’s vehicle was filled with fuel twice meant for hand over.

It was recommended that Mr Chikwekwe accounts for cash claimed after fuel top-up for journeys noted, that double dipping should be discouraged. 

The audit also noted that Mr Chikwekwe was paid US$380 to attend a solid waste management workshop in Kariba from October 28- 31, 2018. On the same date, Mr Chikwekwe was also paid US$300 to attend a workshop on disposal of public assets in Harare.

“However, the audit team was told that the (disposal of public assets) workshop was eventually cancelled and rescheduled to November 13. The workshop was conducted on the rescheduled date but the chamber secretary did not attend because it clashed with the chamber secretary sub-committee meeting held in Beitbridge. The chamber secretary attended the Beitbridge meeting and was paid US$860. It was recommended that the chamber secretary refund to council US$300, which was meant for him to attend the workshop on disposal of public assets,” the minutes say. 

He is also required to refund council before the next audit committee meeting at the current interbank rate, reads the minutes.

The audit noted that at some point council paid US$9 920,00 to Afripool for servicing of two water pumps at Gwenhoro Dam but proper works were not done. 

“Payment of US$9 920,00 was made to Afripool to service two pumps 7 and 9 at Gwenhoro but Afripool did not do the job. Afripool was awarded another job as evidenced by order number 158659 amounting to US$13 000, yet the same had not performed the previous job,” reads the minutes.

The audit also noted that in 2017, council lost US$92 895,10, through a botched back-hoe loader deal, which resulted in the local authority getting a second hand machine instead of a brand new machine. It also noted that council went on to pay US$6 525,85 for an engine overhaul  for the machine that was supposed to be brand new.

“The back-hoe loader was delivered to council by Rubtech machinery on April 24, 2017. On arrival the roads technician suspected the machine to be second hand as there were signs of poor workmanship or repainting, no upper water tank lid and signs of water leakages between head and block and rust all over the machine. The audit noted that the machine broke down two times well before the expiry of warranty period that is either 4 000 hours or two years, whichever came first. A payment of $6 525,85 was made by council in September 2018 for an engine overhaul repairs to the back-hoe loader, after it reached only 1 300 hours,” reads part of minutes.

Thus, the machine failed to serve council as expected.

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