Kusile Rural District Council and Lupane Local Board have allegedly been, since 2015 to date, abusing money received from the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (ZINARA) meant for road rehabilitation projects, with some funds sometimes channelled to council staff salaries or travel subsistence allowances, a new report has revealed.
In its latest public resources management situational report, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has accused Kusile Rural District Council and Lupane Local Board of abusing ZINARA funds meant for road rehabilitation and maintenance.
“Lupane Local Board has been abusing monies received from Zimbabwe National Road Authority meant to upgrade road rehabilitation projects since 2015 to date where some monies are sometimes channelled to either council staff salaries or travel subsistence allowances for the council staff as well,” the report reads in part.
“This trend had been practised since 2015 when the Kusile Rural District Council started receiving ZINARA monies from the central government. Despite the council having received a tractor and grader for road constructions, the council is failing to maintain roads in this rural area.”
“The money allocated to Kusile RDC is mainly for road rehabilitation especially for building bridges and road maintenance. In 2015 the council received US$35 000 which was embezzled without a trace and was never accounted for,” it said.
Kusile RDC acting chief executive officer Wellington Mthembo neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.
“I haven’t received that report. Where did they get that information from? Because I don’t even think that came out of the Auditor General’s report. I don’t know and I can’t confirm,” he said.
“I can’t say I know but what I can tell you is that from Zinara allocations, there is a 10% allocation that covers travelling and accommodation expenses and other expenses that are associated with road maintenance and making.”
Efforts to get a comment from Lupane Local Board were fruitless.
Kusile RDC administers rural Lupane while the Lupane Local Board manages the urban area, which is the Matabeleland North provincial capital and a university town.
The report, however, maintained that Lupane Local Board is always allocated monies from ZINARA as well for road constructions within Lupane town, but the monies are also diverted to other projects.
This is witnessed at some residential stands where the un-serviced stands are not reachable because of the poor road network, it said.
“Residential stands do not have piped water from Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) because the local board does not pay ZINWA services as a norm. Lupane district, in general, is lagging in terms of development because of mismanagement of public funds by both Kusile Rural District council and Lupane Local Board town councils,” it said.
Zimcodd said the allocated funds from ZINARA for 2021 for these two councils were not disclosed to the public raising suspicion that there is a lack of public finance management within these two institutions.
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology