Balaka district commissioner (DC) Ali Phiri has conceded that the council has been losing about K170 000 daily in unaccounted for revenue through market revenue collectors.
The scam, which led to the suspension of three revenue collectors, was discovered after Nkhadze Alive Youth Organisation (Nayorg) conducted a joint revenue collection exercise with council collectors and vendors representatives where the initiative raised K220 000 from K47 000 in one day.
Phiri said the exercise was an eye-opener.
“The human mind is unlimited in what it can do and we can’t rule out a systematic defrauding syndicate. We salute Nayorg for its support. The revenue collectors were using parallel receipt books to swindle the council,” he said.
The DC said the syndicate has deprived Balaka of better services such as good roads and sanitation.
Speaking recently during a Youth Inclusion in Market Revenue and Sanitation Meeting, Nayorg programmes manager Austin Dalabani said they will raise the red flag again if they notice that the trend has not changed.
“We suspected that the low revenue base in Balaka was a systematic fraud; hence, our request to conduct a joint revenue collection operation. We will be monitoring the trend together with council officials,” he said.
According to Balaka vendors profile, there are over 2 000 vendors in the district and council could collect K400 000 daily instead of less than K50 000.
Tilitonse Foundation funded the joint revenue collection exercise.