Former council employees still bank signatories

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AN AUDIT into Harare City Council (HCC)’s accounts has revealed that some of the council’s bank signatories have since left municipal employment.

The audit was meant to validate the signatories of bank accounts, establish operational bank accounts and create a permanent audit file for accounts signatories.
HCC has 62 active bank accounts and an additional 47 merchant lines for the city health services clinics.
“The audit manager reported that the audit file on confirmation of signatories on City of Harare accounts was now complete and the findings established that suspended and retired employees were still appearing on some of the bank accounts as authorised signatories. Some of the employees had retired as far back as 2014,” read part of the audit minutes.

According to the minutes, council has a total loan facility of $57,6 million broken down as CABS $36,7 million, Ecobank $5 million and FBC $15,9 million as well as the China Exim Bank US$144 million from which half of the Chinese loan has been drawn down.

The acting finance director Godfrey Kusangaya said the issue of retired signatories had already been discussed and was documented in council’s procedure and policy manuals.
He said the change of bank signatories had already been approved in 2019 and the city’s bankers had been advised of the development for updating of the files.
“With the update already underway we will only be leaving council employees as signatories in the new arrangement.
“An updated file of the signatories will be forwarded to the town once completed and will be kept there,” Kusangaya said.
The acting finance director added that all accounts which are no longer needed will be closed while loan accounts will be reconciled to ensure that there is no defaulting and over-payments.
Meanwhile another investigation into the city’s rented accommodation by a special committee revealed that most leases had expired with unauthorised sitting tenants occupying the properties.
According to the report compiled by internal and external investigators, leasing of rented accommodation and renewal was not systematic resulting in ownership wrangles and potential corruption.
The report also indicated that some leased council properties such as bars, bottle stores and even rented accommodation had been extended without council authority.

“…90 percent of lease agreements on residential properties had expired and 90 percent of initial lease holders were either deceased or non-existent. Initial lease holders were renting out the premises and collecting rentals without paying lease rentals to Harare City Council.

Some leased and rented properties of council were illegally being sublet and the sub-tenants or occupiers held no lease agreements with council,” read part of the report.
Vice-chairperson of investigations councillor Denford Ngadziore said the audit which covered the period between 2013 to date also revealed that tenants in council buildings were not paying other obligations such as electricity and telephone bills which left council exposed to repossessing of their properties for the debt.

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