Chitungwiza municipality audit exposes ghost workers


Brenna Matendere

Chitungwiza—A manpower audit at the Chitungwiza municipality has raised queries of ghost workers.

The manpower audit committee report of the local authority dated 25 January 20224 was exclusively obtained by NewsHub.

 The audit manager presented the manpower audit report. He said that the internal audit used the September 2023 payroll as a benchmark of active employees and discovered that council had an establishment of 1150 employees on its payroll report as at 30 September 2023, of which 869 are permanent employees, 242 are casual employees and 39 students on attachment.

Chitungwiza municipality

“Out of 869 permanent employees, 812 employees were accounted for and presented themselves for the head count and 57 employees were not counted,” reads the audit report. 

It also noted that the audit manager reported that there were two employees who were placed on forced leave with benefits pending finalisation of their cases by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

The two had reportedly been arrested  for alleged abuse of office.

The committee also noted that there the human resources unit was not receiving updated human resources registers, with the audit manager being urged to ensure that the unit must carry out its own investigations since there was a “risk of salary frauds.”

The manpower committee discovered that convicted employees were still claiming salaries.

“The finance director bemoaned that they were not being fed with enough information from HR (human resources), which is a risk to council,” added the report.

According to the committee, the finance department did not have the contracts of employment for both the mayor and the deputy mayor, yet it was processing their salaries.

The committee questioned the internship policy, amid reports that some of the students on attachment were receiving salaries designated for full-time employees.

It further observed that the HR section was not using a proper biometric system to ensure transparency on the payroll.

“The committee requested to know if employees are being paid according to the hours they have worked as one should be paid according to how he/she has worked (sic).

“The audit manager advised that the payroll is a default set. The finance director opined that there is need for the biometric system to work and there is need to use the attendance register,” adds the report.

Alice Kuvheya, the Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) director, said she was aware of reports of ghost workers and had in the past engaged the local authority to address the problem.

“We have received minutes exposing the corruption involving some councillors and management at the Chitungwiza municipality. An audit was done at the municipality and uncovered 57 ghost workers. This was reported to the audit committee,” Kuvheya told NewsHub.

She accused some seven councillors in the audit committee of working with management to cover up the scandal, but did not name them.

Kuvheya accused them of nepotism for allegedly employing their relatives and cronies.

“It is clear to us the real problem at Town House (Chitungwiza) is rampant corruption. This is a scourge we will fight against to expose those involved, without any fear or favour,” she said.

The Chitungwiza municipality spokesperson, Tafadzwa Kachiko, said council was carrying out investigations regarding the reported ghost workers.

“The actual figure of the said people is 15 but further investigations are yet to be conducted to ascertain if they are indeed ghost workers. The issue of suspended employees is being finalised as a matter of urgency.  It was agreed that the (suspended) employees should come back to work since they were cleared by the courts,” he said.

Over the years, the Chitungwiza authority has been dogged by allegations of corruption.

Last year, it emerged that the local authority collected pension fund contributions from its workers between 2009 and 2013 amounting to US$13 million on behalf of the Unified Councils Pension Fund (UCPF) but failed to remit the money.

The municipality then tried to cover up the abuse of funds by parcelling out land to UCPF in a development that angered local residents.

The land which the embattled local authority wanted to give UCPF  before it was stopped by residents are stand numbers 810 in Zengeza Township measuring 4739 square metres held under deed of transfer 0000021/2015 and 22997 also known as Zengeza Ground measuring approximately 14 923 square metres.



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