The investigation is said to have been triggered by the auditor generalâ€™s report that the City of Mutare is one of the most corrupt local authorities in the country.
â€œAll I can say is yes we are carrying out an investigation on the local authority. Several cases to do with corruption have been raised, so we are looking into that,â€ said Chimene. Insiders reliably informed The Zimbabwean that the investigation was targeting the town clerk, who has had a bumpy working relationship with Chimene ever since she assumed office.
Both the town clerk and the mayor, Tatenda Nhamarare, are on record acknowledging that there is corruption at the local authority.Â An audit in 2012 exposed a series of fraudulent activities at the cash-strapped local authority, ranging from tax evasion to housing scams.
The audit unearthed a $2,4 million tax evasion scam by 11 top officials who were earning a total of $199,279. Muzawazi was reported to have pocketed $32,252 in non-taxed monthly benefits in the form of rentals, school fees, electricity, holiday and housing allowances.
The auditors indicated that the council was violating Chapter (23:06) section 8 of the Income Tax Act that binds the employer to disclose all the fringe benefits accruing to the employees.Â â€œCouncil is violating a statutory requirement and this is a tax evasion.
Prejudicing the Tax authority results in the accrual of a tax liability that will negativity affect the councilâ€™s cash resources as ZIMRA can garnish the organisation to recover the debt accrued in the form of unremitted on tax fringe benefits,â€ stated part of the report.
The council was also said to be using wrong PAYE calculation on management salaries.
Other financial inconsistencies included missing expenditure payment vouchers, unaccounted cashier shortfalls, and cash tied up on trading and shop licenses.
Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene is investigating Mutare town clerk Obert Muzawazi for corruption.