Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Town House Audit Awaits Approval

Harare City Council may have flouted tender procedures when it appointed Grant Thornton Camelsa as external auditors after it emerged that the State Procurement Board, which was supposed to appoint an auditing firm for the city, was not aware of the engagement.

The SPB questioned the criteria council used to appoint the auditing firm both as external and internal auditors for the city, following allegations of corruption by council officials.

The development has since seen the audit being stopped, while the SPB and the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s Office is still to give a nod to Camelsa to continue the exercise.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Thomas Muzuva on Tuesday confirmed that council was still to get approval to allow Camelsa to continue with the audit or to seek other auditors.

“The State Procurement Board questioned how Camelsa became the city’s external auditors when they (SPB) are the ones who are supposed to appoint auditors for the city,” he said.

He said they were now waiting for approval to continue with the audit.

Audit committee chairperson Clr Panganayi Charumbira said it would need a new council resolution for them to appoint new auditors.

“It will require a council resolution for us to appoint a new auditing firm. As far as we are concerned we had chosen Camelsa to conduct the exercise and we are now waiting for SPB’s approval,” he said.

Stakeholders had argued that the engagement of Camelsa could jeopardise the outcome of the audit since the firm was taking too long to produce a report and that they are the city’s traditional auditors. Many had questioned the logic behind the city authorities engaging the chartered accountants who are the city’s traditional auditors, as that was akin to having the firm auditing itself.

The appointment of Camelsa followed revelations that most city deals, especially joint venture agreements, were riddled with corruption, while the city officials were being accused of mismanagement and taking home huge salaries at the expense of service delivery.

Councillors have in the past defended their decision to appoint Camelsa saying they still believed in the firm’s independence and that going to tender would delay the audit.

The auditors are to audit city executives’ salaries and benefits as well as sales of commercial and residential stands to managers.

There were also allegations that directors bought industrial and commercial stands whose official prices ranged from US$20 to US$30 per square metre, for as little as US$3 per square metre.

In addition, council could have lost up to US$100 million through inflating prices of equipment in a US$144,4 million loan agreement with a Chinese firm for refurbishment of water infrastructure.

Source : The Herald