Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni has suspended acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube with immediate effect after an audit by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Housing revealed that council officials continued to earn obscene salaries after the Government directive to cut salaries was apparently ignored.
According to the audit report, the city’s executives continued to earn between $12 000 and $21 000 from October 2014 to June 2015 as opposed to $10 450 for the highest earner stipulated by the Government .
This, the report said, prejudiced the city of over $550 000. Clr Manyenyeni confirmed the development but declined to shed more light. Sources said Human Capital Director Dr Cainos Chingombe will be acting town clerk.
Mrs Ncube said she was still to get the suspension letter. The Government-commissioned audit report also revealed that council paid its 10 retrenched directors more than $6 million in in golden handshakes, which were not catered for in its 2014 budget.
According to the audit, nine of the retrenched directors were overpaid by $1 618 610,63.
The audit, ordered by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, also showed that five executive managers were paid holiday and contact leave allowances to the tune of $347 340.
“There was no proof availed to audit that these managers ever went for a holiday granting them authority to claim for professional contact leave allowances as resolved in the City of Harare minutes of the Sub-Committee on the Review Conditions of Service for Executive Council officials.
“The council’s executive managers were paid unbudgeted for exorbitant school fees allowances amounting to $556 330,42 outside employment costs in July 2014. The amounts as per invoices were paid directly into their personal bank accounts using the Real Time Gross Settlement,” read the report.
The city, in an unclear motive, later posted inflated school fees amounting to $882 433 in July 2015 paysheet to the benefiting executives members, which resulted in an overpayment of $357 629,96.
Clr Manyenyeni said the audit was commissioned by Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere and he was yet to receive a copy of the report.
“I had a conversation with the minister and he said he was still to receive the report and once he gets it he will deal with it. Council, however, cannot deliberate on a matter which is still to come before it,” he said.
Environment Management Committee chairperson Councillor Herbert Gomba said the allegations being made by the report were serious and council should look ito them.
“We must have made an initiative to look at exactly what transpired. We have to look at the salaries and bonuses paid to officials as well as retrenchment packages. I am moving a motion and proposing that this council investigates what really transpired,” he said.
Councillor Girisoti Mandere seconded the motion. Informal Sector Committee chairperson Cllr Wilton Janjazi said council was in the dark. “The HR committee should tell us what transpired during the retrenchment. If need be we can then assign the audit committee to investigate,” he said.
Minister Kasukuwere said his ministry was still to review the report. After debate on the matter council resolved that the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee investigates and report to council on the quantums paid as exit packages to retrenched directors. Herald