Nkayi council boss accused of fraud and embezzlement

NKAYI Rural District Council (RDC) acting chief executive officer Lawrance Mudimba is accused of embezzling council funds, changing signatories and flouting finance and tender procedures.

Mudimba who was the council treasurer was elevated to the top post after the incumbent Zimbabwe Ndlovu was suspended in September last year for alleged abuse of office.

Allegations against Mudimba date back to August 2020 when he was accused of attending a workshop outside work without knowledge of his superior and defrauding the council by making a travel allowance claim for a journey he did not embark on.

“He claimed to have attended a budget consultation meeting when in fact he did not. On the same day, Mudimba proceeded and attended a workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance without the authority of his supervisor where he also claimed money for subsistence allowance, making a double claim on the day,” sources said.

Mudimba is also accused of taking money that was receipted by Nkayi RDC and spending it without the knowledge of the council’s accounting officer in contravention of the RDC’s  Financial Regulations (accounting manual), which requires that monies collected should be banked without any misappropriation.

“The expenditure was not authorised and irregular in terms of Section 85 of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 29:19),” sources noted.

Mudimba is also accused of paying councillors’ travel and subsistence allowances from receipted funds which had not been banked.

According to sources, the expenditure was not authorised and irregular in terms of Section 85 of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 29:19), while the use of receipted money before being banked is a contravention of the Nkayi RDC’s Act (Chapter 29:13) Section 123 (2).

Contacted for comment, Mudimba acknowledged he knew about these ‘charges’ claiming they were raised by individuals who wanted him out of office and did not know about council processes.

“This has been ongoing for some time, as there are haters who hate me for assuming this post and sympathisers who sympathise with me as well. Due to these issues, working in council is difficult, as relations are not going well,” he said.

Mudimba suggested that a multi-stakeholder engagement was needed to educate staff about council processes and maybe bring the warring factions together.

“Since people are complaining, there needs to be clarity on council procedures because working here is tough,” he said.

Between September and October 2020, Mudimba is accused of approaching Standard Chartered Bank in Bulawayo and unlawfully changing council signatories without a proper council resolution to that effect and without the principal signatory as required by signing arrangements.

Sources said this was confirmed by officials at Standard Chartered Bank to the Nkayi RDC Accounting Officer when he was denied access to the accounts.

“Mudimba unlawfully and fraudulently used Bongani Mpofu, a retired council employee, to assist him by signing the council documents for his new unlawfully signing arrangement for the council, which unlawfully removed one Z Ndlovu as the principal signatory of the council. This was done without any council resolution and Z Ndlovu’s signature, this was done in October 2020,” said sources who claimed Mudimba promised employment to Mpofu’s daughter, a graduate trainee, as a payback for his generosity.

“On January 11, 2021, Mudimba defied government Covid-19 regulations by calling a Full Council meeting to discuss budget issues. This put the lives of the council staff, stakeholders and councillors at risk of contracting Covid-19.”

However, Mudimba refuted these claims saying ever since the national lockdown declaration by the government, no face to face meeting has been held.

“We don’t even do management meetings face to face. You see so many things are being said because of the infighting, which is affecting development and service delivery,” he told CITE.

Mudimba is also accused together with Nkayi RDC clerk, Selamiso Mabhena of illegally parcelling council stands to their friends in exchange for kickbacks.

“Mudimba has instructed Mabhena to hide all the documents concerning the selling of stands. The law does not allow parcelling of stands without servicing the land, informing Council management, Councillors and without advertising yet these two parcelled the stands without following the above processes,” sources said.

Mabhena said she could not comment, as her superior Mudimba had already commented.

It is also alleged that Mudimba and Mabhena were bribed by a businessperson who runs a funeral parlour, allocating him a 100 X 100 square metre stand.

“With this kickback, Mabhena managed to build a five roomed house near Nkayi prison and finished the house within a week. Mudimba is reportedly still keeping his share to divert people’s attention,” sources said.

The council official is also accused of handing out council vehicle, ACA 3036 to his friend, who is an unregistered welder.

“His friend has no knowledge of servicing the vehicles, without the knowledge of the Procurement Officer and Procurement Management Unit and Administrative Department. He also grabbed the council vehicle ACA 3036 and AAE 7990 and used them for his personal errands, abusing council resources like fuel and not clocking the mileage, the fuel which he used was unaccounted for on his endless journeys. The vehicle he grabbed ACA 3036 is now grounded and is not working,” sources claimed.

“Mudimba was involved in an accident with a Council Land Cruiser, he was found guilty and was never punished,” the source said, noting he enjoyed support from senior government officials in Nkayi.

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