Tribunal team demands $30k each
Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
The tribunal tasked to investigate the alleged defiance by Harare City Council executives to cut salaries as per Government directive demanded to be paid $30 000 each, after taking five months to complete a month’s job, it has emerged.
The six-member tribunal which was chaired by retired High Court Judge Justice George Smith was given one month by council to complete investigations, but took five months to reproduce almost the same contents as the audit report sanctioned by the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry produced.
The probe was prompted by a Government audit which unearthed financial irregularities at Town House.
According to the audit, city executives continued to earn between $12 000 and $21 000 from October 2014 to June 2015, as opposed to $10 450 for the highest earner as stipulated by Government.
Officials who appeared before the tribunal alleged that the tribunal did not understand council procedures and Justice Smith, who was said to be chairing the tribunal was not really in it and at times walked out of proceedings.
This was also evidenced by his failure to present the findings delegating lawyer Mr Piwai Chiutsi, the secretary of the tribunal.
According to the recent minutes of the Finance and Development Committee, the tribunal demanded to be paid $6 000 per month each translating to $30 000 per member since it had taken five months to complete investigations.
“The special tribunal had settled for $18 000 per member instead of $30 000 per member which he (Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni) felt would be steep given that they had gone into the exercise on the background of goodwill to the city. The secretary will add on to his fee an amount of $2 500 (stationery, printing, telephone),” read the minutes.
Mayor Manyenyeni asked councillors to waiver the current policy of council on payment of fees and increase the fees, but members of the committee expressed concern that it was not in compliance with the city’s policy.
As members were divided on the matter councillor Stewart Mutizwa moved a motion seconded by Alderman Samuel Chinyowa that the council policy on payment of fees to the special tribunal on executive remuneration be increased to $12 000.
After a lengthy discussion on the matter, the committee expressed concern over the failure by the tribunal to submit report as per agreed time frame and agreed to pay the tribunal $12 000 each.