Gweru’s 18 bank accounts probed

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A TEAM set up by the government to investigate cases of alleged corruption and abuse of funds at Gweru City Council is targeting 32 issues, including claims that the municipality has 18 bank accounts.

By Stephen Chadenga

The team is also investigating claims that senior council officials bought cattle auctioned by the local authority.

A letter by Local Government permanent secretary George Mlilo addressed to both the town clerk and chief internal auditor revealed that the commission of inquiry was probing 32 issues some of them with political implications.

“A series of allegations have been made by a variety of persons concerning the operations of Gweru City Council,” the letter dated June 24 2015 reads.

“These allegations give the impression of serious malpractice within the local authority and the minister (Ignatius Chombo) has approved an audit by Ministry auditors and an assistance exercise by the Town Clerk Forum to establish those areas of weakness and to give guidance to the minister of actions required to restore normalcy to the council.”

The letter said among issues to be audited included how funds collected by the Revenue Enhancement Team were being used on items other than wages with no explanation.

There were also allegations that MDC-T councillors Catherine Mhondiwa (ward 13) and Charles Chikozho (ward 10) told residents not to cooperate with the Revenue Enhancement Team because it comprised of Zanu PF youths.

“Council has 18 bank accounts, council sold 400 head of cattle and most were bought by the mayor (Hamutendi Kombayi), town clerk (Daniel Matawu) and officials,” part of the tabled issues read.

Other allegations were that a compressor at Gwenoro Dam was taken to Bata Shoe Company and that generators at the dam and fire stations disappeared.

In May, Chombo suspended councillors Albert Chirau (Ward 11), Kenneth Sithole (Ward 4) and Moses Marecha on allegations of abuse of property and council property.

Gweru council has been struggling to pay salaries since last year. Chombo has since been moved to the Home Affairs portfolio.