Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Senior Reporter
LOAN sharks are deducting money from civil servants salaries through the Salary Services Bureau (SSB)’s stop order system ostensibly to service non-existent loans without prior approval from the workers, Sunday News can reveal.
Affected Government workers have since asked their employer to intervene.
One of the companies that has been in the eye of a storm over the deduction is McDowells International (Pvt) Limited, which has since been liquidated.
The Government, through the Civil Service Commission (CSC) has washed its hands on the case involving McDowells and asked the affected workers to seek recourse through other means.
A number of civil servants claim they have been made to pay monthly premiums to service loans from McDowells which they would not have taken.
Those that took loans from the company claim that the loan shark continues to deduct money from their salaries despite them having finished paying off the loans.
APEX council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander yesterday confirmed that a number of Government workers had complained of the unauthorised deductions from a number of companies.
Mrs Alexander said the council had since asked the Government to investigate the complaints as there appeared to be loopholes in the SSB’s stop order system.
She was, however, not in a position to single out any particular company saying the companies involved were many.
“Complaints have been raised during our meetings that a number of workers were having money deducted from their salaries without their consent. It appears there are loopholes at the SSB, because it baffles us how these deductions are being done without the workers having signed to authorise,” she said.
Added Mrs Alexander, “We have since engaged the Government to investigate the issue. It’s an area of concern which we want the employer to look into”.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) earlier this year wrote to the CSC, requesting intervention on McDowell’s continued deduction of money from teachers’ salaries.
However, the CSC, through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare declined to intervene on the matter which it said was now beyond its jurisdiction as it had been ruled on by the High Court.
In a letter dated 7 July, the Secretary for Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Mr Ngoni Masoka said the deductions being made to the civil servants’ salaries, in the McDowells case, had been sanctioned by the High Court, to recover what the liquidated company was owed by debtors.
Mr Masoka said the provisional liquidator appointed by the High Court was the one carrying out the deductions and his ministry could not do anything about the matter.
He said court orders had been granted against the Government workers who owed McDowells.
“Court orders were thus granted against the teachers who were indebted to the company in question and were submitted to the Salary Services Bureau for processing by the Provisional Liquidator. My ministry cannot reverse a judgment made by a court of law,” he said.
Mr Masoka said aggrieved teachers could still engage the Provisional Liquidator and reach consensus on amounts of money that can be deducted from their salaries.