An audit report from the Ministry of Local government leaked to the media today reveals a gross abuse of City of Harare finances by council executives on top salaries.
At a time when council workers from tier 4 downwards have gone unpaid for seven months, this second salary scandal is certain to cause outrage.
The just-leaked audit, dated 30 June 2016, bears a stamp from Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere dated 7 July 2016, which indicates that the minister has been aware of the situation for at least four months.
The ‘Salarygate’ revelations of 2013-14 saw parastatal managers such as Cuthbert Dube exposed for paying themselves hundreds of thousands monthly in salaries and perks. The executive directors at City of Harare were also implicated, and salaries were then capped by ministerial directive of October 2014 at $9,000 to appease public outcry.
The directive went unheeded.
The leaked audit reveals that as recently as June 2015, the top seven ranked officials at town house earned up to $21,000 per month each. In July 2015, the gross wage bill for the ‘big seven’ spiked, reaching $1,497,040 in that month alone. This figure exceeded the mandated wage bill by $1,434,040.
The ‘big seven’ are listed as Tendai Mahachi (then Town Clerk, later fired), Cainos Chingombe (Director Human Capital), Prosper Chonzi (Director of Health), Tendai Kwenda (Finance Controller), Josephine Ncube (Chamber Secretary, Acting Town Clerk), Philip Pfukwa (Director Public Works), and Christopher Zvobgo (Director Harare Water).
A source at Town House told Harare News that executive perks such as school fees, travel and living allowances, would significantly increase these figures. “The salaries are just the tip of the iceberg,” they said. The audit reveals monthly school fee allowances totalling $556,330 in July 2015 for the same seven executives, at time when ordinary workers were struggling to pay fees as little as $100 per term.
2014 and 2015 saw budget deficits of $28,046,180 and $33,562,540 respectively – indicative of mismanagement and failed service delivery. In spite of this in July 2015 performance bonuses for years 2013-2014 of $607,250.
Holiday allowances, ‘on-call’ allowances, among other perks are also described in the document.