ONE of the commissioners appointed by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to run the City of Gweru has been caught up in a corruption storm after he allegedly appointed a company owned by his brother to conduct a water audit at the local authority at a cost of about $220 000.
After being appointed in August last year, the same commission cut salaries of City of Gweru employees by 50 percent and also failed to pay salaries that were in arrears.
Minister Kasukuwere appointed the three-member caretaker commission after the suspension of all the 18 councillors from both Zanu-PF and MDC-T on allegations of corruption, gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs.
Commissioner in Charge of Finance Mr Mark Choga’s brother, Engineer Vavarirai Choga, is non-executive member of Zimbabwe Innovative Technologies (Pvt) Ltd (Zimit), the company that conducted the water audit at Gweru.
Mr Choga was quoted in the media recently confirming that the company had been paid $222 000 in full for the two months that they were engaged.
MDC-T MP for Mkoba, Mr Amos Chibaya (MDC-T) asked Minister Kasukuwere, during a Questions without Notice session in the National Assembly on Wednesday last week, to confirm whether commissioners were allowed to engage companies in which they had vested interests.
He presented an invoice from Zimit that had board members including Eng Choga and asked if this did not promote corruption that Government was fighting.
“I would appreciate it if you could give me the details of what you are talking about because we do not condone corruption,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
“I appreciate that the honourable member said we are fighting corruption which is true. There was a lot of corruption that was taking place to the extent that the residents were getting poor services.”
Minister Kasukuwere said his ministry would investigate and if the allegations raised are confirmed, appropriate action would be taken.
While Mr Chibaya alleged that Eng Choga was a commissioner at the City of Gweru, The Herald established that in fact it was his brother, Mark, who was appointed one of the commissioners.
Sources said that Zimit conducted the water audit using council employees.
Eng Choga is a former board member at the Zimbabwe National Water Authority and former director in the then Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management. herald