Stop the rot at  Mutare City Council

The Mutare City Council forensic land audit report covering 2007 to March 2018 has exposed rampant corruption in the valuation of stands in the local authority with low density stands selling for as little as 60 cents per square metre.

Those who seemed to have benefitted were sitting councillors and other council officials who bought or sold these stands to their close allies. So revealing in the report are allegations that even after “selling” themselves the stands for so little, most of the councillors whose terms expired went away without settling the little they had charged themselves.

And to conceal most of these corrupt practices, the audit report says council had never carried out an audit for the past five years. It is shocking!
The report which we cover in the paper fingers the City Valuation Officer as being involved in stands deals as council disposed stands for commercial, institutional and industrial activities without going to tender, hence promoting underhand dealings.
Current Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi is also reportedly one of the councillors who benefited from the corruption as he is among those sold      52 undervalued stands prejudicing council of over $80 000.
It is sad that both MDC and Zanu PF councillors are involved in the scandal with 31 of the stands still to be paid for.
Startling revelations also point to political bigwigs being involved as the report implicates land development company Mushamukadzi Housing Project owned by a Zanu PF bigwig  which “might not have paid for land to council” on which it developed and sold 187 stands in Hobhouse area.
The audit says there was “no proof of payment in the council record made by Mushamukadzi Land Developer towards the land sale” which is valued at $176 000 despite claims that it had paid $53 000.
Sadly, the report accuses council of allocating land to land developers whose financial capacity they would not have assessed.
Mutare City Council is also guilty of violating the Urban Council’s Act for failing to timeously audit its finances having last done so five years ago.
“Financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2015 were still at draft stage and not audited,” the report noted.
While this was illegal it also compromised the quality of decisions the local authority’s management and policy makers were making
It recommended that the local authority recruits a substantive finance director and his deputy among “other key posts in the department as to ensure that final accounts are consolidated and made ready for statutory audits timeously.”