The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) has demanded the sacking and arrest of top Harare City Council (HCC) officials implicated in a massive point of sale machine (POS) fraud exposed in an internal audit report released recently.
The internal audit revealed that some top officials supplied HCC with 19 unregistered POS machines without following due procedure.
According to the audit report, the unregistered POS machines have been in use for over two years and all the transactions were not reflected in the HCC’s electronic accounting system implying that there were leakages of ratepayers funds.
HRT director Precious Shumba said heads must roll and all corrupt officials must be shipped out.
“The only remedy is to rid the council of corrupt people, getting your account credited for services not rendered is not a sustainable solution because it would be like we are tolerating that.
“Criminals must be removed from the system of council, we cannot have the capital city being run by corrupt people and they are left to do what they please without being punished,” he said.
Shumba said the unregistered POS machines were a reflection of a corrupt institution operating with a “high level of impunity.”
“The Harare City Council is being run by very corrupt people from the management to the majority of the councillors, they are thieves that have connived to deprive the rate payers of deserved services because their interest is not in serving the people but accumulating wealth [and] building mansions,” he said.
He also noted that such issues had been raised by the Auditor General, Mildred Chiri in her report in 2014, where the City of Harare was “found to be creating dubious accounts.”
Shumba bemoaned the lack of criminal investigations being opened regarding such financial irregularities, where instead many HCC directors were “handsomely rewarded” for corruption.
“In the worst case scenarios we see people being suspended but we want these cases to be brought to court instead of giving them huge labour awards in settlement.
“We realise there is connivance, the councillors do not want these matters to be taken to the police or to the courts they want to internally handle the cases so they can negotiate for their own payouts,” Shumba said.
Despite his criticism of the HCC, Shumba said the current mayor, Herbert Gomba had been “proactive” in his approach to corruption.
HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said he could not qualified to respond to the matter without consultation with the Finance department.
“I have sent the questions to finance so they can give me the responses, so I am waiting for their responses,” he said.
Efforts to contact the Acting Finance director Stanley Ndemera drew a blank and his mobile phone went unanswered by the time of going to publication on Thursday morning.