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Chitungwiza town clerk ‘Machona’ involved in US$1, 5 million scandal

Staff Writer

Chitungwiza Municipality’s finance director Mrs Evangelista Machona is involved in US$1, 5 million scandal which was diverted into unidentified accounts raising suspicion that the money was diverted for personal use.

According to documents gleaned by our publication sometime in 2010 the US$1 503 310, 34 was deposited from Chitungwiza salaries accounts Met bank account number 08070018761113 into three unidentified Met bank accounts, 007001876117, 007001876125 and 160060002.

The money was being withdrawn under unclear circumstances and its use has allegedly not been accounted for up to date.

Interestingly three years later, after the council inquired about the use of the money Mrs Machona wrote to Met bank inquiring about the transactions which were not in the council’s system.

Mrs Machona verbally said the bank replied and said the accounts were investments accounts for council and no written communication from the bank was seen since then the council is in the dark regarding the whereabouts of the money.

According to council minutes in our possession there is also no proof that the US$1, 5million was re-deposited back into the town’s Salary account.

The local authority which suspects that the money was misused or abused for personal gain has since resolved to carry out a forensic audit, but Mrs Machona as the finance boss is allegedly blocking the process by refusing to release money for the forensic audit.

Our publication is also in possession of a letter written by Mrs Machona to Met bank requesting information for various transactions which were made into these three unidentified accounts after being pressured by the council, of which she replied verbally.

“It has been noted that there are transactions made from Chitungwiza Salaries Account into account numbers 007001876117, 007001876125 and 160060002,” Mrs Machona said.

“The record of our account numbers with your bank do not include these account numbers. Can you furnish us with information on these account numbers.” 

“These effected transactions entries which are of concern od council were picked here during the compilation of reconciliation statements and all of them emanated from entries contained in bank statements obtained from your bank in 2010. Photocopies of bank statements are herewith for ease of reference.”

Chitungwiza Residents and ratepayers Assosciation chairperson Mr Arthur Taderera has since filed a report with Police Anti-Corruption Unit under reference number Er 156/20.

Mr Taderera also wrote a letter of complaint against Mrs Machona’s allegations dated December 12, 2020 to Chitungwiza mayor Lovemore Maiko and copied it to Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo, his secretary, the offices of Provincial Development Coordinator, Chitungwiza town clerk and chamber secretary.

The letter referenced allegations of abuse of office and corruption by Mrs Machona nails her over a string of allegations.

“The Mayor of the Municipality of Chitungwiza, your Worship Mr Maiko, as residents of our emerging town we feel let down by your office and it is one of the many reasons we are writing this letter with so much grief as to what is happening at our municipality.

“It has come to our attention that within the municipality management, some officials are enriching themselves at the expanse of rate payers. Instead of providing service delivery to residents, some of the town’s officials among them the current town clerk Ms Evangelista Machona is bleeding the councils coffers dry,” he said.

Mr Taderera alleges that since the exposition of the transfers no one except for Mrs Machona knows what happened to the money as she did not give an update of the reply she got from the bank.

“From there no one knows what then happened to that money, that is, did the investment matured because if it was an investment I should have matured because an investment grows. Also no one knows whether the accounts were closed.

“If those accounts were closed had the investment matured. If it matured or not, no proof that it was redeposited into Chitungwiza municipality account together with interests. Possibilities are that the monies may have found its way to into individual pockets for personal gain,” he said.

Contacted yesterday, Mrs Machona denied tampering with the money saying the deposits were made before she was employed by the municipality.

“I am aware of the issue but when the transfers happened I was not yet employed by the municipality and I am the one who found out about the transfers.

“I then wrote a letter to the bank and I was told that the money was for investment. People are just trying to tarnish my name, I have no hand in the issue and I know nothing at all,” she said.

She insisted that she wrote the letter after finding out the money was not accounted for within their system and was transferred from the municipality’s salaries account into the three accounts.

According to the minutes of the full council during former Town Clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa era the council used to transfer various amounts from the above salaries council account to unidentified which are 007001876117, 007001876125 and 160060002 the passage through was Met bank which used to run the council bank account.

 

 

Tendai Guvamombe