By Wellington Makonese
HARARE residents could have been prejudiced around US$200 million through a city council billing technical boob which has been exposed by 2021 Auditor General’s report.
This comes after council ditched a billing system that had been in use for many years.
Harare City Council officials summoned before the Honourable Dexter Nduna-chaired Local Government Pubic Accounts Parliamentary Sub-Committee were quizzed over the wisdom of abandoning the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and failing to raise alarm over what they argued were unfair practices by the South Africa-based firm that provided the service.
“The then leadership was not quite privy. What we realised when the company came they started to inflate more than the time they had initially advised,” said Engineer Phakamile Moyo, Acting Harare City Council Town Clerk.
“How far are you from police realising this?” Hon Dexter Nduna asked.
The engineer failed to answer the chairperson.
The committee members probed the city fathers’ decisions who admitted the unforeseen costs that could have affected residents.
“On the actual costs of the deal it is quite difficult for us, but we have an internal audit which is trying to deal with this matter. With the current situation, there is little we can do because it’s from 2018,” said Engineer Moyo.
In 2020, the bills shocker rattled residents, but back then the City explained that this was largely due to backdated rates.
The sub-committee is now pushing for an inquiry into this anomaly that could lead to prosecution of offenders.