Bulawayo council books last audited in 2012
THE Bulawayo City Council’s audit system is reportedly in shambles amid revelations that the local authority is only auditing books for 2012, a move which the Government said was meant to cover up corruption.
The Government has since ordered the local authority to audit their books for the three years (2013-2015) before the end of the year or risk State intervention.
A forensic audit has also been ordered on the council’s department of engineering services as it has emerged that they failed to provide guarantee bonds for all projects being done by the local authority.
These revelations emerged as part of a Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing investigation report on corruption at the Bulawayo City Council (BCC).
It was revealed that the council’s internal audit section was inefficient as it was only activated when assigned specific functions hence some matters could go undetected as long as the section had not been assigned by senior management to look into the matters.
“The team observed that internal audit in terms of the functions of Bulawayo City Council is playing a peripheral role and is only active when it is assigned specific functions. This has resulted in it failing to play its role of internal policing of council systems, rules, regulations and issues of good corporate governance.
“It was further observed that some if not all the contractual project management issues could have been picked up by internal audit and could have been dealt with without the involvement of this team,” reads part of the report.
The investigating team further revealed that senior management and councillors continuously barred the local authority’s chief internal auditor from sitting at key council meetings. This, they noted rendered the office useless as the auditor only accesses documents which the senior management and councillors would want him to access.
“The importance of internal audit cannot nnot be overemphasised and as such the chief internalrnal auditor should be part of council senior management meetings as an ex-oficio member. The audit section should be empowered to make ad hoc audits in any department of their interest.
“The internal audit should be timeously responsive to issues either raised internally or from external stakeholders. Given that most advance guarantee bonds were never availedvailed to the investigation team for all projects, there is s need for an intensive audit on the operations of the department,” reads part of the report.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere had no kind words for the council noting that the delay in audits showed that the local authority had a lot to hide.
He warned the council’s management from relaxing, thinking the current investigation was the end of the process, r revealing that officials from his m ministry would be keeping tabs on the local authority to weed out all the corrupt elements.e “It is unacceptable that a whole management is auditing their 2012 books in 2016. Clearly someone is not doing what they were employed to do and we cannot just sit back and letle this mess continue. I have instructed them to audit all their books before the end of the year or else we will descend on them again and more people will be dismissed. “To show you the magnitude of this situation, this current council (elected in 2013) has not been audited at all, which is not surprising considering the level of corruption which is here. Something is amiss and we will get to the bottom of it,” said Minister Kasukuwere after presenting the findings of the investigation team on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the local authority could have lost close to $100 000 in a deal for the supply, installation and commissioning of a crematory at West Park Crematorium. The local authority reportedly entered into a deal with Masen Engineering in November 2013 for the job but to date nothing has been supplied or installed.
“Council entered into a contract with Masen Engineering on the 27th of November 2013, for the supply, installation and commissioning of a crematory at West Park Crematorium. The duration of the contract was 15 weeks commencing 10 January 2014 (advance payment date). However, up to the time of investigation nothing was delivered to West Park Cemetery.
“The contractor was given an advance payment of $97 120 for purchasing the crematory from China since he did not have the capacity to do so. The contractor failed to perform within the contract period but council did not invoke the liquidated damages clause 9 of the contract,” reads the report. — @vusadb