Abel Zhakata Senior Reporter
A Librarian with Mutare City Council has admitted to stealing more than $13 000 from his employer which he pocketed as travel and subsistence allowances after coming up with fictitious international book fair functions. Armed with fake invitation letters from organisations like the Zimbabwe International Book Fair and the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions (IFLAI), Darlington Mandowo, was paid by council to attend the bogus workshops.
Mandowo, who is on suspension over the case, recently wrote to the local authority asking for leniency. In an affidavit dated December 4, 2017, which he tendered to the local authority, Mandowo of No. 7365 Fairbridge Park, Mutare ,asked council to deduct $13 077,40 that he misused from his terminal benefits.
Reads that affidavit: “I have used $13 077, 40 on (sic) personal use instead of council business. I, therefore, (plead with) council to deduct $13 077, 40 from my terminal benefits. I am kindly requesting to proceed on my resignation as per my previous request.”
Chamber secretary Mr Cephas Vuta acknowledged receiving the affidavit. He, however, refused to comment on the case saying human resources issues were confidential. The librarian scandal was exposed recently after Town Clerk Mr Joshua Maligwa tasked the local authority’s audit department to do some checks at Turner Memorial Library.
Apart from the travelling allowances, Mandowo is also alleged to have pocketed thousands of dollars which was paid by the Chartered Institute of Secretaries (CIS) to the local authority for the use of the library as an examination centre. Despite CIS using the library for its examination, the municipality got nothing. Some of the payments were allegedly paid direct into Mandowo’s personal account with the CBZ in the form of Real Time Gross Payment Settlement transfers.
Last year, Mandowo duped the local authority of $4 199, 40 in travelling allowances after he produced fake ZIBF invitation letters for three workshops which were never held. He also received $2 626, 80 for two trips that were purportedly being hosted by IAFAI but which turned out to be fictitious. Council’s audit team got suspicious during investigations and contacted the two organisations to ascertain whether such events were held last year. The auditors were shocked when they got correspondence to the effect that no such workshops were held.
“The two bodies told council that the invitation letters were counterfeits and that they did not originate from their offices,” said Mr Maligwa.
On the CIS payments, Mandowo is alleged to have pocketed $1 300 which he either received as cash or in the form of RTGS transactions into his personal bank account each time the examination body used Turner Memorial Library as its examination centre. He is also failing to account for 565 litres of fuel he received for generator use. The audit team noted that despite the fact that power cuts were now minimal, Mandowo requested large quantities of fuel which he is now failing to account for.