Chombo probes Gweru councillors

LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo has set up a commission of enquiry to investigate cases of alleged corruption and abuse of funds at Gweru City Council.

Stephen Chadenga

Last Friday, Chombo summoned Gweru councillors, management and workers’ representatives to his offices in Harare where he indicated that the probe team would start its work today.

Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and workers’ committee spokesperson Cornelia Selipiwe confirmed the development yesterday.

Selipiwe said Chombo said his team would investigate various trips involving councillors and management to establish if they were of any benefit to the financially-troubled local authority.

“He made it clear that if the trips were not of any immediate benefit to council, those who went for such trips should pay back the allowances they received,” Selipiwe said.

Chombo last month suspended three MDC-T councillors in Gweru on allegations of abuse of office and council property.

The suspended councillors are Albert Chirau (Ward 11), Kenneth Sithole (Ward 4) and Moses Marecha (Ward 5).

In April this year, Chombo ordered councillors who had gone on a boxing trip to Chiredzi to pay back the allowances they had received from municipal coffers

“The minister said even those councillors who went to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo and were funded by council money should pay back,” Selipiwe said.

“He said at least two councillors should have been sent on a trip to Bulawayo.”

Management, councillors and workers went on a collision course in April after revelations that councillors had gobbled a staggering $244 581 in travel and subsistence allowances between September 2013 and February this

It also emerged that some of the trips were study tours, induction workshops, local government meetings, trade fairs and funerals, among others.

Councillors pocketed amounts ranging between $100 to $1 200 each, depending on the purpose of visit.

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