Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday said the appointment of a water audit firm by Gweru City Council was aboveboard adding that one of the city’s caretaker commissioners was not related to the directors of the firm despite sharing the same surname.
Minister Kasukuwere told Parliament yesterday that Gweru City Council appointed Zimbabwe Innovative Technologies Pvt Ltd through an open tender system after it met specifications.
He said commissioner-in-charge for finance, Mr Mark Choga was not related to the director of ZIMIT Engineer Vavarirai Choga whose firm conducted a water audit at the local authority at a cost of about $220 000.
Minister Kasukuwere said this in the National Assembly while giving a ministerial statement aimed at responding to corruption allegations made by Mkoba MP Mr Amos Chibaya (MDC-T) who had indicated last week that the two Chogas were brothers.
“The Minister would want to put it on record that Eng Vavarirai Choga is one of the employees and director of ZIMIT according to the company profile of ZIMIT and is neither a shareholder of ZIMIT nor is he related to Mark Choga who is one of the caretaker commissioners running the affairs of the city of Gweru,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
Minister Kasukuwere said the preliminary water audit findings had identified more than 3 000 illegal connections, various properties that were not on council billing platform and more than 15 000 non-functional meters and a proliferation of unprotected wells dotted all over the city.
“The audit has also unearthed stands and other properties that have been created and parcelled out illegally and such properties are not on council database while at the same time drawing water from council’s water distribution system illegally,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
Mr Chibaya however insisted that the two Chogas were related and stood his ground that the appointment of ZIMIT was irregular.
At one stage Minister Kasukuwere and Mr Chibaya had a heated exchange with the Minister accusing the legislator of being one of the problematic residents in Gweru who did not pay his water bills.
Minister Kasukuwere eventually withdrew after protest from several MDC-T MPs.
He, however, said the Urban Councils Act was the law that was applicable while he was working on modalities to align it with the Constitution.
Minister Kasukuwere said he would apply that law unless the court declared it unconstitutional. herald