Epworth residents demand forensic audit

RESIDENT associations from Epworth have rejected a budget proposal by the Epworth Local Board, saying a new budget will only be effected once a forensic audit into council’s finances has been done.

This was said by the Epworth Residents Development Association (ERDA) and Kushinga Epworth Residents Association, in a budget consultative meeting that was held on Tuesday by the local council.

The associations claim that there was corruption at the local council, adding also that there was no transparency in the way funds were being disbursed.

We need a forensic audit and auditor’s reports or else residents are going to stage seasoned demonstrations against the council,” Peter Nyapetwa of ERDA told Zim Morning Post.

Nyapetwa said it was not feasible for the council to increase the current rates since it was not providing basic services to the residents.

“The Epworth Local Board has not build roads.

It is only NGOs that were building roads in Epworth.

We have no piped water, and they have not put in a sewer system in Epworth.

But they have been collecting rates from the residents since 2001,” Nyapetwa said.

There is nothing that we can safely say was done with the money paid by ratepayers except for payment of salaries for the employees and cars for top management.

Epworth continues to be underdeveloped yet the residents are paying their rates,” he added.

Kushinga Epworth Residents Association co-ordinator John Mabwe said the local board’s move to push for a new budget without agreeing with the relevant stakeholders was worrisome.

During the meeting, they refused to recognise the registered associations, instead conniving with bogus groups they call development committees,” Mabwe said.

The development committees are unconstitutional and cannot be recognised.

These are groups of people that have been involved in the illegal distribution of land together with the local board,” Mabwe said.

He further said the development committee was fraudulently created and was part of the corrupt syndicate selling stands in Epworth.

The budget consultative meeting by the Epworth Local Board came after residents complained against the payment of rates in foreign currency.

The residents threatened to demonstrate against the decision which in turn forced the local board to reverse its decision.