FIVE Lusaka City Council (LCC) workers have allegedly made away with more than K1 million from the Intercity Bus Terminus revenues and have gone into hiding, Lusaka Mayor Daniel Chisenga has revealed.
The local authority has asked the police to hunt down the council officials so that they can be prosecuted.
Head of procurement Gift Kasalo and assistant accountant Kizito Chito allegedly abandoned their personal-to-holder Toyota Hilux twin cab vehicles at a building near the bus station.
The three other “wanted” council workers are said to be cashiers.
Before abandoning the station, the council officials allegedly tampered with some accounting documents, including receipt books, to destroy evidence. Some receipt books are missing.
Mr Chisenga, who confirmed the theft in Lusaka yesterday, said it is difficult to compute the actual amount involved because the officials “ran away” with numerous receipt books.
“They could use some fake receipt books and give fake receipts to unsuspecting bus drivers for loading their buses. The officials would collect the money and pocket it because the drivers would not know whether the receipts are fake or not, provided they have a council logo,” Mr Chisenga said.
He said it was a well-calculated syndicate but they fled when the noose tightened on them.
Mr Chisenga said revenue collections in November and December last year dropped from about K1 million to K600,000, prompting the local authority to task auditors to verify the figures.
“An audit revealed that the local authority was recording low revenue collection monthly. Normally, every month we would collect K1 million but all of sudden we started receiving K700, 000 or K600, 000 or even below. That was when we thought there is a problem somewhere,” he said.
He said after an audit, it was established that fake receipts were procured for the syndicate.
Mr Chisenga said the council is expected to hand over the report to the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) this week so that further investigations into matter can start.
“We consulted and we were advised that the matter can be ably handled by officers from DEC. So tomorrow [today] or any day this week, we will hand over the report to DEC,” he said.
Mr Chisenga said after the officers left, the council has recorded normal revenue collection at the country’s biggest intercity bus station.