Council grilled over chaotic accounts
Harare City Council officials were yesterday grilled by the sub-committee on local authorities of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee over their shambolic accounts that were exposed by the Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri in her 2020 report.
In her report, Mrs Chiri pointed a number of anomalies in the council’s accounts, with some, dating back to 2018.
The AG said some of the anomalies could have cost the city about US$190 million after council failed to verify some of the money in its books, while some service providers could have been overpaid or paid without doing any work while some financial statements were missing.
There was also no accounting inventory kept of developed land stands, allowing misappropriation of public assets, while some bank accounts were not in the system.
In his response to questions by the chairperson of the sub-committee, Chegutu West legislator Cde Dexter Nduna, acting Town Clerk, Mr Mabhena Moyo said the poor maintenance of books of accounts was as a result of a dispute between Council and the administrator of an Enterprise Resource Planning software system which resulted in the vendor withdrawing their services to council.
Council had a contract with Quail Associates in 2016 for the supply and maintenance of the system to manage and coordinate council activities, but the relationship soured after disagreements over cost of the services resulting in the cancellation of the contract.
“There was a problem with the vendor (Quail Associates) because they wanted to change terms of the contract and be paid more to what was agreed in the contract,” the council’s acting finance director, Mr Godfrey Kusangaya said.
Quizzed by Mberengwa North legislator, Cde Marko Raidza on how much the council could have lost as a result of the discontinuation of services by the vendor, Mr Kusangaya said it was difficult to determine but “could not completely rule out” that some employees could have taken advantage of the situation to defraud the council.
The council was also taken to task over their failure to obtain audited accounts from business units that it owns.
Council owns a number of business entities like Rufaro Marketing and City Parking among others and the AG raised an issue over the non-availability of the books of accounts.
Mr Kusangaya said the subsidiaries have been refusing to be audited by council saying as registered companies under the Companies Act they were supposed to produce such accounts at an annual general meeting.
He, however, said the issue had been resolved and the entities were now submitting quarterly reports of their operations.Herald.