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    Monday, 11 July 2016

    Auditor General condemns Chiredzi Town Council books


    – In yet another condemnation of the way Chiredzi Town Council is run, Mildred Chiri, the Government Auditor General has condemned the local authority's books of accounts and pinpointed a lot of shortfalls that became the centre of discussion for Parliament recently.
    Chiredzi is probably one of the most closed councils in Masvingo Province with little or no information released to residents or the Press and of recent auditors who have gleaned its books have exposed shocking irregularities.
    A Chiredzi full council meeting held on Tuesday this week was told that the Auditor General noted that the local council  approved the selling of 611 stands but council sold 810 stands there by selling 199 extra stands with no explanation for the difference.
    According to Chiri`s report on local authorities for 2015, Chiredzi Town Council was caught off side on many occasions. The report says the resolution to sell 611 high density stands was made on February 6, 2014.
    However, information availed by the Housing department showed that 810 stands were sold, giving an excess of 199.
    The report said in addition, stand sales amounting to $3 815 183 could not be reconciled to the ledger balance of $4 748 888 leaving an unexplained variance of $933 705.
    The audit shows that council is receiving $213 000 per annum in rentals but the local authority does not have lease agreements for its rented properties.
    The report also notes that high density stands were sold at a uniform price of $2 300 against the norm in which stands should be sold by size measured in square metres. The sizes of the stands sold varied from 300 to 400 square metres and they all went for the same price.
    "Council was not performing monthly creditors` reconciliations. There was a variance of $504 240 between ledger balance of $2 914 502 and the suppliers statements balance of $2 410 262. An analysis of trade payables and responses made by council creditors through letters circularised reveal that some creditors were disputing the amounts.
    In addition creditors amounting to $809 141 had no creditors` reconciliation statements and were not confirmed" read the report.
    It was noted in the report that council does not have policies such as Human Resources, Housing, Transport, Health and Safety, and ICT. It also noted that council had no database for shops in its area of jurisdiction where it was collecting fees.
    Addressing a full council meeting on Tuesday Town Secretary Charles Muchatukwa said council noted the contents of the audit report and council is now working on addressing the issues raised.
    He said council will implement each and every recommendation given by the Auditor General as a measure to tighten the systems which can be abused by employees.
    Chiredzi Town Council is one local authority that is very hostile to the Press when it is called upon to account for issues.
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