Forensic Audit Exposes Mutare City Councillors

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Forensic Audit Exposes Mutare City Councillors

A damning forensic audit report on land management in Mutare has exposed the rot within the local authority where several councillors, half of them still active in the current local authority administration, have prejudiced the state in shoddy land deals.

According to the report, the councillors have not paid a cent for commercial and residential stands which they acquired at undervalued rates from the council.

Some of the city fathers have since sold the undeveloped stands without paying cessation and related taxes, prejudicing the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority thousands of dollars in the shady land deals.

These underhand activities were laid bare in a damning forensic audit report on land management conducted by Government at the Civic Centre.

The 47-paged Mutare City Council forensic audit investigative report on land management for the period spanning from 2007 to March last year, exposed the stinking ethical decay endemic at council.

The audit was done by Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing forensic auditors.

The non-payment for undervalued commercial and residential stands acquired by councillors was a direct contravention of the parent ministry’s circular number 12 of November 2016 that requires councillors to pay 40 percent of the full purchase price on stands allocated to them as a benefit during the tenure of office.

Read part of the report:

“Most stands sold to councillors and individuals were not correctly valued. Majority of councillors were allocated residential stands in 2015 at 40 percent of the intrinsic value instead of 40 percent of the full market price (land value, survey costs, administration costs and servicing costs).

“Some of the councillors acquired several stands for residential and commercial purposes. The 60 percent discount was allowed on intrinsic value of residential stands benefited during the same term of office.

“The schemes where councillors acquired stands were beneficiary funded and the councillors were not charged servicing costs. Some of the councillors had not paid anything for their stands to Council since 2015. Some of these stands allocated to councillors were already sold to other individuals,” reads part of the audit report.

The report further notes that council management, which was then led by former Town Clerk Mr Obert Muzawazi, failed to charge the correct price of stands allocated to councillors.

“Council management failed to charge the correct prices of stands to councillors when they applied 40 percent of the intrinsic value instead of the full market price of the stands.

“The under-pricing of stands sold was due to ineffectiveness by council management in carrying out their responsibilities. Council management disregarded the Ministry’s circular 12 of November 2016 that requires councillors to pay 40 percent of the full market price for stands allocated to them as a benefit. Some of the councillors who were allocated low density residential stands had no capacity to pay for the stands,” reads the report.

“The local authority may fail to service the stands within the stipulated time as the servicing costs were not incorporated in purchase prices of stands. The local authority was also prejudiced of $80 842,36,” reads the report.

The councillors — half of them still active in the current local authority administration including the current Mayor Councillor Blessing Tandi and his deputy Councillor Kudakwashe Chisango — acquired stands in various areas around the city.

Ward one councillor Nyamupangedengu, ward three councillor Ziweya, ward four councillor Kalulu, Ward five councillor Mapuvire, ward nine councillor Dube, ward 11 councillor Bhiza, ward 14 councillor Mayor Tandi, his deputy and ward 18 councillor Chisango and ward 17 councillor Nyamhoka are still active in the current local authority administration.

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