Zvishavane Town Council has suspended its beerhalls manager, Raphael Karanda, to mark the start of a probe into alleged massive theft of money by an internal criminal syndicate.
ZTC chairman Esau Dube told Now Daily that the $100 000 announced as the total loss by town secretary Tinoda Mukutu was a gross under-statement.
“The fraud goes back to 2005. That is when they started stealing. In the paper they mentioned $100 000 but the actual amount stolen is much more than that,” Dube said.
Karanda was arrested last week after being found altering beer sales figures and stock sheets. Information at hand shows that on 18 February 2015, Karanda was confronted by the council’s internal auditor Zenzo Danga Zhou and a senior accountant, Oliver Nyakunhuwa. They discovered that money in the safe did not tally with the stocks. Karanda failed to explain the anomaly, and Nyakunhuwa wrote to the finance director recommending that he be suspended pending further enquiries.
Karanda then offered to pay back some of the missing money. He wrote to Nyakunhuwa: “I am responsible of (sic) all mistakes, errors, ommissions and shortfalls of beer sales. I will pay the $200 shortfall of 13/02/15. I regret and assure you that such a thing will not happen again. I kindly ask your high office to consider my apology and regret. I humbly request for internal settlement.”
The request for an internal settlement was rejected by councillors. The audit committee, chaired by councillor Andrew Chikandiwa, had already recommended that investigations be instituted on Karanda. Before the scandal broke, Chikandiwa wrote to chairman Dube: “Issues have been raised that our liquor manager has abused, embezzled and diverted funds that were supposed to benefit council.”
The council held an extraordinary meeting on February 25 and resolved to suspend Karanda and hand him over to the police. They also resolved to bring in external auditors.
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