Town clerk rapped for poor record keeping

MUTARE - A top Mutare City Council official has come under fire after admitting the local authority was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue due to poor record keeping.

Presenting oral evidence before a Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (Pac) here, acting town clerk Donald Nyatoti conceded that the cash-squeezed council was losing desperately needed cash through under-charging and poorly structured leases.

“The city has been prejudiced revenue and we concede that the process has taken very long. The systems were not functioning properly, hence the delays (in rectifying the problems),” Nyatoti — who became acting town clerk following the resignation of Obert Muzawazi in March last year — said during the ongoing public hearing.

Nyatoti was responding to a question by the committee’s acting chairperson Tome Wesley Sansole whether council’s rented properties had valid lease agreements.

The town clerk said he was still compiling a register of council properties under lease.

“We had no dedicated staff to deal with leases. We have now set up a lease committee which is in the process of coming up with a full list of properties,” Nyatoti said, adding some of the rentals were below market value apart from the huge debt owed council for its properties.

Pac member Eddie Cross said setting up a committee would hardly help.

“Setting up a committee is one way of getting nothing done. Why has it taken so long to get this matter corrected?” Cross asked.

Fellow MDC legislator James Maridadi also slapped the acting council boss down.

“Five years is a long time. The answer is just not appropriate.

“Council is being prejudiced a lot of money due to the delays in rectifying the issue,” he said.

A 2012 audit by the comptroller and auditor-general noted that there were lessees operating without valid leases.

It also noted that some lease agreements had not been renewed since their expiry in 2009, with an accrual of $185 669 in outstanding rentals.

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