HARARE – Suspended Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni actually advised Harare Sunshine Holdings (HSH) of an audit that was to be conducted on the city’s wholly-owned companies and joint ventures as requested by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, the Daily News has learnt.
Manyenyeni was on Tuesday last week suspended by the then acting Local Government minister Jonathan Moyo on allegations of failing to deal with corruption at HSH’s various entities as directed by the ministry.
In the suspension letter, Manyenyeni was accused of having failed to engage forensic auditors to produce a report on operations at Easipark and City Parking and other council-owned companies as directed by the ministry.
The companies that were to be investigated under the audit include Easipark, City Parking, Sunshine Meats, Mabvazuva Village, Shawasha Business Complex, High Glen Textile Factory, Pearl City, CC City and Sunshine Development.
Documents seen by the Daily News show that Manyenyeni actually advised HSH board chairperson Percy Toriro of the need for an audit.
In a letter dated April 8, Manyenyeni advised that, after Kasukuwere’s directive, council had written to the auditor-general Mildred Chiri on September 21, 2015 seeking guidance on the appointment of auditors.
Pursuant to their request, Chiri advised council on January 25, 2016 that Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) were the successful tenderers for the job.
The terms of reference for PWC were set out by Chiri in consultation with the Local Government ministry and comprised arrangements to ascertain relevance of agreements or contracts entered into enhancing the value of business.
Manyenyeni advised that as the audit would begin on April 11, PWC had requested for information pertaining to their work by April 8.
“Please be further advised that I expect full cooperation from Harare Sunshine Holdings and its subsidiary companies and joint venture companies when the audit commences on 11 April 2016. The auditors should be allowed access to all the information and records they need from all entities to be audited during the audit,” Manyenyeni said.
A departmental memorandum to the audit committee chairperson Peter Moyo from the acting town clerk Josephine Ncube dated May 26 showed that Toriro had assured Manyenyeni of compliance with the ministerial directive, however, he retracted his assurance on April 11.
The memo stated that on the day the assurance was retracted (April 11), a meeting between the auditors, council and HSH was held, however, no representative of the latter was present.
According to the memo PWC in consultation with Ncube suspended their audit on April 20.
“The board made the following observations on the matter; that the committee did not understand the motive of the audit.
“The committee is not sure whether the minister was made aware that City Parking has been subject to annual statutory audits and that NECI had conducted an audit after the minister had issued his directive for the pending audit,” said Toriro.
“That there is no council resolution to support the audit. That the joint venture parties should be consulted as they are independent of council authority.
“That HSH has nothing to do with most of the entities cited for audit since they are at the stage of drafting agreements whose responsibility lies with Harare City Council,” read part of the memo.