Friday, 10 April 2020

CIVIL SERVANTS DEMAND $1M UNPAID CYCLONE IDAI ALLOWANCES


CIVIL servants who conducted relief work in Chimanimani after Cyclone Idai hit the district and other parts of the country last year are up in arms with the local authority’s administration over the non-payment of their travel and subsistence allowances, it has emerged.

The total bill for the allowances is $1 million.The Manica Post is reliably informed that the Government, through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, released the funds long back into the coffers of the Chimanimani District Development Co-ordinator (DDC)’s office.

However, workers are yet to receive their pay-outs. Following the devastating cyclone which saw more than 350 people losing their lives, Mutare, Buhera and Chipinge districts paid their workers soon after the disbursement of funds.

But several months later, payments for the Chimanimani employees is still outstanding.

Chimanimani’s DDC, Mr Joseph Manyurapasi, confirmed that the payments are yet to be done. However, he said his team is working flat out on some modalities to facilitate payment.

“We are currently seized with that matter and we will only be able to give you more information once we have ironed out a few things,” Mr Manyurapasi said curtly when contacted for comment.
  
Pressed to shed some light on the kind of services that the aggrieved workers provided, Mr Manyurapasi was evasive.

lt is said the Chimanimani DDC’s accounts

department, which is supposed to disburse the funds, has allegedly folded its arms due to an inundation of fictitious claims and the emergence of ghost workers.

However, irate beneficiaries are now raising red flags, alleging that the funds could have been siphoned by corrupt officials.

The row has also sucked in the Provincial Administrator, Mr Edgars Seenza, who has been accused of doing nothing to solve the matter.

However, when contacted for a comment over the issue on Wednesday, Mr Seenza said he had sent a team of accountants from his office to look into the matter. 

“While I understand the workers’ frustrations, such payments are not done by my office. The District Development Co-ordinator can give you better explanations on what is happening there.

“However, the team that I have sent there will sort things out and it is my hope that the payments will be made soon.

“I have communicated with our parent ministry (Local Government nd Public Works) over the matter and as per their instructions, I have sent a team of accountants to Chimanimani. They went there yesterday (Tuesday) and I expect them back tomorrow (Thursday),” he said.

“Their mission is to check the validity of the two registers that are creating confusion in Chimanimani.

“Last year, a committee was set up to come up with a register of all the workers who were involved in Cyclone Idai relief work. They were supposed to get travelling and subsistence allowances.

“That committee came up with the list and the amounts the workers were supposed to receive. That list was used to claim funds from Treasury.

“However, when the funds were finally released, another list emerged, hence the confusion.

“My team will work with the accounts department in the Chipinge district. They will scrutinise the two registers and come up with bona fide workers who are supposed to be paid,” said Mr Seenza.
  
Disgruntled workers have since taken to the social media to express their frustrations. They are alleging that an accountant in Chimanimani (name supplied), is involved in the allowance scam.

They are accusing the accountant of paying undeserving friends and relatives amounts ranging from $10 000 to $40 000.

“We were happy with Government’s efforts but we are facing challenges in accessing the money as officials at the Chimanimani DDC’s office are refusing to process it,” complained one of the intended workers.

Efforts to get in touch with the said accountant were fruitless as his phone was unreachable. ManicaPost

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