Harare City Council fails transparency test

HARARE – Controversy continues to dog the management of the City of Harare amid startling revelations that there is a parallel account that the Financial Director does not control.

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Money from some of the Harare City Council’s strategic business units such as Easipark is not finding its way to the council’s coffers.

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The decision taken by the Harare City Council a few years ago to split its operations into strategic business units is not bearing fruit as issues of financial transparency continue to haunt  authorities at town house.

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The strategic business units such as Easipark and Citipark are supposed to be cash cows but the council is allegedly not yielding the expected profits as some top officials are suspected to be  lining their pockets.

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Harare Resident Trust Director, Mr Precious Shumba accused the Town Clerk, Dr Tendai Mahachi of overseeing a parallel account that the financial director is not in charge of.

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“It is not a secret that council is struggling financially when they have business units that are making money which they have no direct access to. That infrastructure should augment other sections which are struggling,” Mr Shumba.

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Dr Mahachi chairs the Easipark management committee but however refutes the allegations.

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Dr Mahachi claims the Easipark dividend is paid directly into the City Treasurer’s Department.

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“Let me set this straight, there is no parallel accountant and we can prove that Easipark and Citipark are paying dividend its parent which is the council,” he said.

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Efforts to get a comment from the Harare City Council’s Acting Financial Director, Mr Tendai Kwenda were not fruitful.

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However,  the  chairperson of the Harare City Council Finance Committee, Councillor Tranos Moyo said the Finance Committee has no access to books but is appraised of developments.

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He said Easipark did not pay any dividend in 2013 but in early 2014 they promised to pay US$800 000, a promise they fulfilled.

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What raises the stink in the Easipark deal is that the company pledged to pay  money at the beginning of the year without factoring in the increase in the number of vehicles or the expansion of parking space.

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In 2011, the Easipark deal dominated several meetings with the City Treasurer’s Department demanding an explanation on council’s share in the deal.