Salima, Eight employees of Salima District Council will soon appear before the court to answer charges of theft by public servant after an audit report revealed that they did not account for money amounting to K7.1 million which they collected on behalf of the council, as revenue collectors.
The eight, who were in May this year suspended to pave way for thorough audit investigation, were surrendered to Salima Police on Friday after the Council Finance Committee meeting concluded that they had a case to answer.
According to the Chair of the Finance Committee, Councilor Peter Kadammanja, the council through its auditor Charles Kamvabingu initiated the audit in the revenue section after noting that revenue was not increasing despite all efforts and the growing business community.
Presentingthe report before the committee, Kamvabingu said, according to his investigations the eight were under declaring the cash they were receiving from various business licenses.
Our findings have shown that the eight did not account for more money than we thought at the time we suspended them. So far, the figure has risen from K 2.1 million to K7.1 million, said Kamvabingu.
Kamvabingu further said at the time of their suspension, the eight confirmed that they had indeed not accounted for some of the money they collected while carrying out their job as revenue collectors.
The eight identified as Blessings Banda, Daniel Chenjerani, Judith Duncan, Maxity Makhuwira, John Mitawa, Henry Gama, Mercy Matola and Manuel Chiwoko are suspected of each not having accounted for K1,560,240.00, K1,332,020.00, K1,329,500.00, K1,255,200.00, K910.000.00, 345,000.00, 219,500.00 and K168,500.00 respectively.
Civil Society Organizations in the district have since applauded the council for taking matters of public finance serious.
Speaking to Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, Executive Director of Salima Governance Network, Thomas Mwagupili, said the civil society is happy that the council has shown commitment to account for all the money it collects from the public.
We believe that the stand which our council has taken will give a good example to all workers at the council especially those entrusted with public money, said Mwagupili.
Mwagupili said that loss of revenue through fraud by some council officers is affecting service provision by the councils.
In another interview, a businessman Dalitso Gome said that fraudulent acts by some ill minded officials discourages business people from supporting the council through timely paying of licenses and other fees.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA