Council fails to account for $208m: AG

HARARE - Auditor-General (AG) Mildred Chiri has found that Harare City Council (HCC) did not account for $208 million of public funds in the 2012 financial year.

In her 2015 local authorities report tabled in the National Assembly recently, Chiri reported that the majority of councils’ audited financials were not up to date, with HCC as far behind as 2012.

Officials running the council’s affairs then are all now out of office and unable to account for the plunder exposed in the latest audit report.

Harare’s bank balances did not reconcile to the cash book balances, resulting in an unexplained $200 million-plus variance.

“The financial statements presented by management showed an overdrawn position of $208 430 777 as at 31 December 2012,” Chiri said in the report.

“A bank statement provided by the City of Harare showed an overdrawn position of $7 141 678 as at December 31, 2012,” she said, further stating that “in addition, the bank confirmed another overdraft of $449 150 as at  December 31, 2012 giving a total of $7 590 828.”

“A comparison of the overdrawn position as per management’s financial statements and the bank overdraft balances showed a significant variance of $200 839 949.”

The audit relates to the tenure of former Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda who was elected in July 2008 for a five-year term.

In response to Chiri’s expose, Masunda’s successor Bernard Manyenyeni’s management claimed reconciliation of the books was currently underway to isolate cashbook postings for payments which were not lodged with the bank.

“The overdraft relates to creditors purported to have been paid as a result of premature raising of journals prior to the actual payments,” the HCC said.

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Young Zimbo - 6 April 2017

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