Tuesday, 18 August 2020

STANDS SCAM SUCKS IN GWERU DIRECTORS


Gweru City Council internal squabbles have opened a can of worms after a councillor implicated in a stand selling scam fingered council directors and former town clerk of allegedly looting stands and allotting residential and business stands to their children and relatives.

Gweru City council has been rocked by a land scam that has seen heads rolling following the release of the forensic audit which also exposed an alleged fuel looting scam by the top management and the acting town clerk.

The local authority has since invited ZACC to investigate cases of alleged corruption and misuse of office by the management.

There is an ongoing tug-of-war between councillors and some members of the management which has seen offensive and counter offensive ploys between the factions in the corridors of the local authority much to the detriment of service delivery.

Since the emerging divisions, there has been a series of suspensions and mudslinging against a cabal perceived to be in contradiction of the demands of a powerful clique of councillors.

Gweru Town Clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza has been suspended for allegedly failing to bow down to the demands of the council while other top managers and directors have been suspended while some have resigned after succumbing to pressure.

One of the councillors, Cllr Charles Chirau of ward four who has been at the forefront allegedly calling for the ouster of his perceived enemies is now under spotlight after it emerged that he purchased two residential stands in Senga Infill for his 13-day-old and five-year-old children.

The juveniles have no contractual capacity according to the council by-laws. Contractual capacity is the legal capability to form a binding contract.

According to the documents in possession of this publication Cllr Chirau bought stands number 6835 Senga Infill and 6841 Senga under his children Leon Munashe, who was 13 days old on the day of purchase and Shaun who was five.

Cllr Chirau confirmed purchasing the stands and also exposed some of the council management who also bought stands for their children and relatives during the stands looting spree.

“My children did buy those stands. If the law does not allow juveniles to purchase stands the council must not have accepted the money. It is not my fault it is the fault of the people who receipted the money.

“I am not the only one who did so. For instance, one of the stands I bought for my children is 6835 in Senga and number 6832 was bought by (former housing Director) Mrs Jani’s child who is also underage, (former Town Clerk) Daniel Matawu also gave stands to his children. So, it is not only me,” he said.

Although he was not at the local authority then, Gweru City Director of Housing and Community Services Mr Singirai Tigere said ideally, the council advertises stands, and gives first priority to people on the housing waiting list.

Mr Tigere said council does not enter into contracts with juveniles and cannot sell stands to underaged people.

“Procedurally the acquisition of a residential stand is that the engineering department surveys the land that is fit for that purpose, calculate the costs and handover the stands to the housing department which also includes tax and administrative fees to the cost of the stand.

“Then the local authority is supposed to advertise the stands and conducts interviews with the people shortlisted on the waiting list to see if they have the capacity to take up the offer,” he said.

Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said he will look into the matter once he gets full details.

Midlands Minister of state Senator Larry Mavima has also expressed dismay at the state of affairs at Gweru City Council.

Updating Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube on the State of Affairs in the Midlands province, Minister Mavima said there was chaos and mismanagement at Gweru City Council.

“Gweru City Council has become a major problem area whose current environment is characterised by chaos, conflict, divisions and general mismanagement. However, the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works is currently seized with the matter and investigations have been carried out and subsequent measures to implement recommendations are underway. Accordingly, you will be advised on progress made on the matter,” he said.

Last week the Local Government ministry sent land auditors to look into the utilisation of state land in Gweru by the local authority. Chronicle

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