Financial affairs of local authorities in shambles: AG

Mildred Chiri

The Auditor General (AG), Mrs Mildred Chiri has unearthed deep seated financial rot at most local authorities with only three out of the 92 authorities having current audited financial statements for 2018.

The findings of the AG contained in the 2018 annual report expose extensive financial mismanagement and governance issues at most local authorities with Kariba, Redcliff and Karoi municipalities failing to pay statutory obligations.

“The absence of policy manuals as well as non compliance with statutory regulations, of note is the failure to pay statutory obligations and others with Kariba, Redcliff and Karoi town councils not paying pensions, taxes, among others,” said Mrs Chiri.

Gweru City Council could not even reconcile its rates and water accounts.

“Gweru City Council could not reconcile rates and water accounts amounting to $12 738 875 and $7 312 445 to bank accounts of $303 942 and $ 70 582 respectively,” the report noted.

The report also unearthed negligence at Chitungwiza and Mutare City Councils which is compromising efficient water supplies to residents.

“Mutare City Council’s treated water was not billed as it was lost mainly through leakages, non-metred connections and accounts not created in the system. Chitungwiza daily supply of treated water for the municipality was 24 985 cubic metres against a demand of 62 000 cubic metres,” the report noted.

Further shenanigans were reported at Hwange and Mwenezi Rural District Councils which wrote off debts amounting to over US$7 million between them without approval.

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