Harare no longer funds Ucaz: Masunda

HARARE - The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz) will no longer receive any funds from Harare City Council (HCC) until the executive sends a suspended official home, mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has said.

Francis Duri, who is secretary-general for the body which represents 32 urban councils in Zimbabwe, was suspended last week over allegations of defrauding the body of over $233 000.

But the decision has not been effected.

Masunda told the Daily News his council has stopped paying its contributions to Ucaz until the misnomer has been corrected.

“In the meantime, the City of Harare will withhold its dues to Ucaz pending the proper resolution of this regrettable episode in the history of the august national association. I would not at all be surprised if Ucaz’s development and cooperation partners follow suit,” said Masunda.

Masunda said Duri should respect the decision reached through a consensus of all urban councils.

“As that decision has not, to the best of my knowledge, been rescinded, Duri should step aside and let the due process of the law run its course.

“If the tribunal which will be put together to deal with the matters complained against him finds him guilty, then he has to be man enough to face the music. If he is exonerated, then Ucaz should revoke his suspension and allow him to come back to the fold,” he said.

Harare is the biggest member of Ucaz in terms of size, contributing at least $35 000 to the association’s coffers every year.

The decision to suspend Duri followed initial findings of a forensic audit undertaken by KLM Chartered Accountants, following alleged mismanagement of funds from membership subscriptions and development partners.

The European Union, which is one of Ucaz’s major donors, is said to be conducting its own audit, a development that could shrink the association’s sources of funding. - Wendy Muperi

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