Monday, 28 April 2014

Council bosses in $650k salary scam

Lovemore Meya Herald Reporter
Four Chitungwiza municipality managers reportedly siphoned more than US$650 000 from the council through a suspicious slush fund account which the finance director claimed was for salaries.
Documents in possession of The Herald show that the town managers used an FBC account 6170041940697 to transfer various amounts to their personal bank accounts.

The transfers occurred over the period January 2012 to March this year.
The four managers implicated are finance director Mrs Evangelista Machona, chamber secretary Mrs Priscilla Vengesai, town clerk Mr George Makunde and human resources manager Mrs Mary Rashamira.

Mr Makunde denied the charges.
“The audit team was sent here three weeks ago specifically for that report from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. The team could not find any anomaly and there is nothing like that,” said Mr Makunde.

Council bosses in $650k salary scam
Documents in our possession detailing the transactions, show that Mrs Vengesai would sign the transfers made into a special FBC Bank account number 6170041940697 Nelson Mandela branch.

Records indicate that the four were supposed to receive their salaries in cash at council head office but were, however, receiving some funds transferred into their bank accounts some in the name of salaries.

In a letter dated November 4, 2011 Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo wrote to the Chitungwiza mayor instructing managers to do away with unwarranted expenses.

The letter reads: “I have noticed with concern that Chitungwiza Municipality is awarding employees exorbitant allowances and packages whilst service delivery is being crippled.”

The managers were ordered to stop awarding themselves allowances like housemaid, technical, retention, incentive and representatives allowances, but did not heed the call.

In January 2013, revenue manager Mr Ezekiel Chifamba’s payslip indicated that he was paid US$1 739,44 but he received an additional US$2 634,81 transferred into his Metropolitan Bank account number 0807001876113 in the same month.

That same month Mr Makunde’s payslip indicted that he received US$4 084, 25 yet US$10 000 was deposited into his ZB Bank account number 4116386525080 and the Met Bank account.

Mr Makunde reportedly withdrew US$6 500, an amount that far exceeds his monthly salary through the Met Bank and ZB Bank account transactions.

Again there was a suspicious transaction of US$95 900 meant for a person only identified as Mak that was conducted at the end of the month.

In January 2012, the resuscitation team led by Mr Fungai Mbetsa recommended managers not be paid for the month of January that year.
However, the management failed to heed the call as varying amounts of money ranging from US$12 000-US$33 000 were transferred as salaries for the same month.

For instance, information technology manager Mr John Mapani and main accounts manager Mr Titus Mudzindi’s payslips showed a US$0,00 net pay.

But their respective accounts benefited from the transfer of more than US$13 000 and US$15 000 respectively.
The company cost analysis report of January 2013 showed that there are 18 managers being paid by the council.

In January this year, the same report again showed that the managers still numbered 18 despite the fact that two of them left council last year.

This means the company costs are inflated by paying two managerial ghosts workers.
It has been noted that the suspicious FBC Bank account is being actioned by Mrs Vengesai and Mrs Machona.

The two reportedly facilitated a fraudulent salary payment of US$90 000 made on January 4 this year through the FBC account number 6170041940993.

They also ordered the bank to transfer US$35 000 from the main council salaries account number 6170041940993 to the suspicious account 6170041940697 both of FBC Bank on March 12 this year.

As of December 2013, council employees reportedly went over nine months without salaries while the big fish were pocketing hefty packages.

Former town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa thrown behind bars for swindling the local authority of over US$80 000 was also accused of stealing US$700 000.

The chief internal auditor at the council also said US$280 000 was siphoned from council’s two bank accounts without requisite supporting documents.

At the height of chaos at the council, a team was set up by the council to investigate former mayor Darlington Nota over the alleged disappearance of council property such as bulldozers, front-end loaders, tipper trucks and excavators.
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