THE Auditor-General has appointed Price WaterhouseCoopers to conduct a forensic audit of Harare City Council-owned companies and joint ventures, most of which have never declared a dividend to the municipality.
Council has nine companies and joint ventures. Fears of mismanagement or looting of resources at the enterprises abound. The firms are EasiPark, City Parking, Pearl City Limited, Shawasha Business Complex, Mabvazuva Village, Sunshine Meats, High Glen Textile Factory, CC City and Sunshine Development.
The appointment of forensic auditors follows an order last year by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
In recent minutes of the audit committee, acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube told councillors that on September 21, 2015 she wrote to the Auditor-General seeking guidance on the appointment of external auditors.
“On January 25, 2016 the Auditor-General advised council that PriceWaterhouseCoopers were the successful tenderer. The auditor’s terms of reference were set out by the Auditor-General in consultation with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing,” read part of the minutes.
It is expected to review the procedures followed, including a review of whether all necessary board or council approvals were sought before contracts/agreements were entered into.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers will also look at governance, performance and operational issues.
It will analyse organisational structures and shareholder dividends. The audit will take eight weeks and council will pay $160 748. The audit began last week.
The council has said it will terminate all joint venture agreements whose implementation has not taken off.
It will also cancel joint ventures facing viability challenges. The city recently parted ways with its former partner, Easihold of South Africa, in EasiPark with the parties accusing each other of diverting funds. The city will folk out over $200 000 as parting terms.
The deal is also expected to go under forensic audit.
Among the projects under spotlight are the upgrading of Rufaro Stadium, refurbishment of Harare Quarry, capitalisation of the city’s farms and the development of Mupedzanhamo Phase Two.
Councillors expressed concern at the slow pace or lack of implementation of joint venture projects that had been approved and signed with various partners. herald