MDC-T has blocked a forensic audit at Harare City Council- owned firms and joint ventures, dismissing the exercise as a witch-hunt by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
The entities have never declared a dividend to council, raising fears of either mismanagement or looting. MDC-T, which dominates council, has reportedly connived with workers at firms supposed to be audited to frustrate the audit.
Price Waterhouse Coopers, which was appointed by the Auditor-General to carry out the audit, has since written to the AG’s Office stating that they were denied access to documents at the companies.
The firms in question 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 the forensic auditors followed an order by Minister Kasukuwere last year. The audit firm was supposed to obtain and review agreements related to the establishment of the entities as well as carry out detailed reviews of all agreements and contracts signed between each company and service providers or other parties.
It also sought to scrutinise cash flow at the companies. An insider told The Herald that councillors were made to sign papers at Harvest House declaring that they oppose the audit. They were also forced to support the appointment of Mr James Mushore as the city’s town clerk.
The MDC-T allegedly fears the audit would unearth anomalies in recruitment of employees, the majority of which were appointed on partisan basis.
Harare Sunshine Holdings chairperson Mr Percy Toriro said the board was not against the audit but wanted clear instructions from the ministry.
“The shareholder needs to communicate to us in a clear manner. At the moment there is no clarity between instructions from the mayor (suspended Mayor Manyenyeni) which had acceded to the audit and the current indications from the business committee which is indicating that there is no agreement for an audit.
“We are waiting for clarity on the matter,” he said.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu all but confirmed that his party was opposed to the audit.
“Kasukuwere (Minister Kasukuwere) has got no business ordering the city council what to do or what not to do. He has absolutely no constitutional mandate and/or basis to order that particular audit. This is a witch hunt. We know it. He is motivated by utmost bad faith.
“He has got ulterior motives. The MDC will not allow Kasukuwere to have his cake and eat it. If he alleges that our councillors are corrupt, can he himself furnish the nation with a full explanation, chapter and verse, of how he can afford to build a 50-roomed mansion in Harare, worth no less than $2 million?’’ he said.
Mr Gutu said MDC-T members were guided by the party and anyone who challenged its decision faced disciplinary action. herald