Corruption rife in Harare council

Harare City Council is losing thousands of dollars due to fraudulent activities by its employees in various departments, The Zimbabwean has learnt.

The council’s audit manager, JD Issa, reported that fake receipts were provided outside the billing system and posted to consumer accounts by 15 employees in the treasury department. Some of the customers were unaware, while others connived with council employees in the process.

“The employees created fictitious cash journals purporting that direct bank deposits had been transacted at the bank. Machines without physical existence were created into the system and were used to process and issue out fake receipts,” Issa told the audit committee recently.

According to the council minutes the city fathers resolved that the acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube, should ensure that disciplinary action be taken against the 15 workers. There also needed to be monthly reviews of the information and communication technology division’s activity log and staff needed to be trained on operations and information security auditing.

The councillors further tasked the acting finance director to ensure that generators were procured and installed at cash receiving points in all districts.

“The BIQ system must be configured not to allow posting of duplicate receipts, connect all receipt offices on WAN, introduce tip-off platforms and customer hotlines for whistle-blowers,” recommended the councillors.

The minutes further reveal that four municipal police officers were caught on video footage operating in the central business district where they were not deployed and extorting bribes.

“Video footage was shot by a private investigator contracted by the council while the officers were soliciting for a bribe from restaurant operators and were given $10. It was noted that had it not been for the payment of bribes by restaurant owners, council could have realised an income of $1.460,” read the minutes.

The audit manger reported that a number of routine audits in council-run schools also established mismanagement of school assets by staff.

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