By Patrick Chitumba
Gweru City Council has compiled a report on alleged double dipping by senior management and flouting of tender procedures which have resulted in the local authority losing thousands of dollars in rate payers’ money.
Addressing a Press conference at Town House on Tuesday, mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said the report will be handed over to the police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for further investigations so that the guilty are brought to book.
The audit observed acting town clerk Mr Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe got 3,286 litres of fuel – much more than ordinarily needed for the journeys he was undertaking.
Mr Chikwekwe is the chamber secretary and is acting in the place of suspended Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza.
“The issue of the town clerk audit managed to unearth some irregularities in the handling of fuel and other issues such as the purchase of a second hand back-hoe loader when purchase agreement indicated that it will be a new machine. The audit unearthed some of these things. I think when I got into office, I made it clear that we are against corrupt officers and those corrupt or found on the wrong side will be dealt with accordingly,” said Cllr Makombe.
“So according to the report, there was some fuel which the acting town clerk is alleged to have taken. And the recommendation was he has to pay back the money, but audit team is working on it to come up with a comprehensive report and let me say that once the comprehensive report is out, it’s not about just the fuel but a lot of things, we are taking it to police and Zacc so that they can do some further investigations so that the guilty are brought to book.”
Cllr Makombe said there was nothing personal or political about bringing the corrupt council officials to book.
He said the procurement of a second hand back-hoe loader but paying for a new machine prejudiced rate payers.
Audit also noted that in 2017, council lost US$92,895,10, through a botched back-hoe loader deal which resulted in the local authority getting a second-hand machine instead of a brand-new machine.
The audit noted that council went on to pay US$6 525,85 for an engine overhaul repairs for the machine that was supposed to be brand new.
“The back-hoe loader was delivered to council by Rubtech machinery on April 24, 2017. On arrival the roads technician suspected that the machine to be second-hand as there were signs of power workmanship or repainting, no upper water tank lid, signs of water leakages between head and block and rust all over the machine.
“Audit noted that the machine broke down two times well before the expiry of warranty period that is either 4 000 hours or two years whichever came first.
“A payment of $6525,85 was made by council in September 2018 for an engine overhaul repairs to the black-hoe Loader, after it reached only 1 300 hours,” reads part of a council report. The Chronicle