HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC)’s top executives have been slammed for stifling investigations in which they are accused of awarding themselves hefty salaries and allowances.
Resident associations raised the red flag after the tribunal set up to investigate the matter asked for an extension amid allegations that those implicated in the matter are refusing to release the requisite documents for the exercise.
Last year, the Daily News broke the story of how HCC bureaucrats were still paying themselves above the government approved salary cap.
Among those implicated in the salary scandal were former town clerk Tendai Mahachi, acting town clerk Josephine Ncube and finance director Tendai Kwenda.
According to a ministry of Local Government audit on the local authority, nine executives were overpaid their retrenchment packages by $1,2 million while also receiving unbudgeted bonuses amounting to more than $600 000.
It also indicated that 40 executives received education allowances of more than $800 000 as well as holiday leave allowances of more than $300 000.
Furthermore, the report also revealed that $282 000 was transferred into retrenched executive managers bank accounts from HCC’s Beer Levy and Estates account outside of employment costs.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni tried to suspend Ncube but the decision was rescinded by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere who argued that the suspension was malicious.
Combined Harare Residents Association chief executive Mfundo Mlilo said the continued defiance by the top management to cooperate with the tribunal will cost HCC more than what was budgeted.
He said the law must be allowed to take its course and members of the tribunal should be allowed to carry out their mandate without being cowed.
“Such open defiance by the city top executives points to organised crime at the Harare City Council which should be thoroughly investigated after which the law should take its course.
“Corruption, financial mismanagement and abuse of office have become the norm at the Harare City Council and the development has cost the city millions of dollars at a time effective service delivery is at its low.”