Gokwe residents and ratepayers demand a Forensic Audit of the Gokwe Town Council

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23rd September 2019
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Gokwe residents and ratepayers demand a Forensic Audit of the Gokwe Town Council

Residents and ratepayers within the jurisdiction of the Gokwe Town Council demands a Forensic Audit of the Gokwe Town Council following a plethora of allegations of corruption, mal-administration and poor service delivery. The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) compiled a report following an invitation by residents, ratepayers and other special interest groups in the town.

Most of the allegations made against the local authority are supported by documentary evidence which either ACT-SA or complainants (residents, ratepayers and other interest groups) are willing to share to facilitate investigations. The report which encapsulates a number of recommendations has already been served to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), the Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, and the Midlands Provincial Administrator among others.

In a nutshell, the following are the allegations levelled against the local authority:

  1. On or about 2011/2, the local authority paid US$23,000 for a brand-new Nissan NP300, which has never been delivered to date. In the process, the local authority suffered financial loss to the tune of US$23,000;
  2. It is alleged that the current Town Secretary was imposed regardless of having failed (came fourth) the interviews conducted for that position and also not having relevant qualifications. When a high-profile individual from the Head-Quarters of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing discovered that the current Town Secretary had not applied, she allegedly demanded the post to be re-advertised, which was done. Complainants stated that the same individual from the Ministry indicated that she was going to tell the current Secretary to apply since the post was meant for her. Furthermore, before the interviews, members of the Panel were coached by the then Chairperson of the Town Council to give her more marks.
  3. The Town Secretary was allegedly paid a salary and allowances for December 2014, when she only started work on the 5th of January 2015. Protests at the district level did not help to stop her from enriching herself. Complainants have proof of the payments made.
  4. There is rampant corruption on the awarding of tenders. This allegedly favours family members, friends and compatriots. For instance, the tender for the supply curtains for the Town House did not only violate tender regulations but was awarded to a relative who was staying in the same house with the Town Secretary at the time of the award. In addition, in May 2019, the tender for catering services for a benchmarking exercise was either awarded to someone linked the District Administrator or it was allegedly awarded to the District Administrator using someone else’s name. The attached report explains in much more detail why there is this suspicion. Documentary evidence is available.
  5. The local authority allegedly bought a Chevrolet vehicle for the Town Secretary for US$58,000 when there were other bidders who had charged much less. For instance, there was a bidder who had allegedly quoted US$51,000. Considering financial constraints besetting the local authority, it would have saved US$8,000. It is not clear why the local authority opted for a more expensive option.
  6. The local authority allegedly bought a second hand and accident damaged Toyota D4D for a price that exceeded, the price of a brand new one taking into consideration the repairs made on the same.
  7. It was further alleged that the Town Secretary owns more than one stand in the Kambasha low density suburb (Stands Number155 and 156) in contravention of council policies.
  8. Senior managers at the local authority violate internal policies with impunity. For instance, one of the managers allegedly gave a council Foton vehicle to his/her child and was involved in an accident. The accident report was kept a top secret to date.
  9. The Local authority by-laws are not enforced uniformly. Those perceived as critical of service delivery at the local authority, especially members of residents’ associations, allegedly pay more penalties for committing certain offences than others.
  10. There is lack of transparency in the administration of donations. For instance, a donation of US$8,000 from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, donation from Zinara as well as donation of a fire fighter from one Mr. Lobels. These were singled out for more investigations.
  11. Councillors discovered that the local authority had a secret US Dollar Nostro Bank Account, 01721387410218 which was not sanctioned by policy -makers (Councillors). Money deposited and withdrawn from the account remains a top secret.

The following recommendations are captured in the report:

  1. Forensic audit of the Gokwe Town Council. It is alleged that the local authority has been resisting an audit for a long time.
  2. An investigation into corruption in the recruitment of the Town Secretary. This should include an investigation of individuals based at the parent ministry and the former Chairperson who was accused of coaching members of the panel.
  3. If it is true that the Town Secretary received a salary and allowance for the month of December 2014, when she only started work on the 5th of January 2015, the money should be refunded to the local authority.
  4. An investigation of tenders for the supply of curtains to the Town House as well as catering services for the May 2019 benchmarking exercise. The mention of the DA’s name should be investigated.
  5. An investigation into the payment of US$23,000 for a Nissan NP300 vehicle which was never delivered since on or about 2011/2 to date.
  6. An investigation into the allocation of stands in the town. Stands allocated to individuals in positions of authority should be investigated.
  7. Action to avert lack of uniformity in penalties for the same offences.
  8. The Ministry of Local Government should urgently consider the establishment and introduction of an Internal Anti-corruption policies for local authorities

The report is available here

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