Fraud Police to flush out ghosts

Marondera Municipality has resolved to engage the services of private investigators, preferably the Police Serious Fraud Squad, to help flush out ghost workers and other fraudulent activities at the council.

The resolution was made at a full council meeting held at Council Chambers on Friday. This followed a motion raised by the council Finance Committee Chairperson, councilor for Ward 6 Cephas Mazambani.

“I would like to bring to the attention of this house that there could be some ghost workers in council, as some ‘workers’ not on work time-sheets are appearing on the pay roll and subsequently getting paid. During the month of March, we had three cases and it was worrying that, despite the continued resignations from council employment and natural deaths, the number of workers on the pay roll continued to fluctuate between 368 and 374. Where are the new ‘workers’ coming from?” asked Mazambani.

He suggested that the council should take disciplinary measures against those paying salaries to ghost workers. Mayor Farai Nyandoro suggested to the Town Clerk that since the issue of ghost workers could be classified as a serious fraud case, relevant arms of the law should be consulted as a matter of urgency.

“There is no way council would fold its hands while ghost workers continued to milk the local authority of its scarce financial resources. I am convinced that since some middle and upper council management members resisted the proposed human resource audit exercise, there could be big time connivance between these members and some former council employees to benefit from the ghost workers’ scandal. I hereby recommend that police and the council audit department should work together towards dealing with the ghost worker issue,” said Nyandoro.

The full council meeting also expressed concern that some workers earned over-time allowances which exceeded their basic wages and salaries.

“One worker, who earned a $285 basic salary, accrued $296 in overtime payments alone. How many hours would this worker have worked?” asked Nyandoro.

Councilors questioned the wisdom of the decision to employ a worker to do overtime when the local authority was overstaffed. As a result of the overstaffing, the council wage bill outstripped cash in-flow.

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