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Councillors want suspended Town Clerk arrested for “stealing” vehicle

The Gweru City Council is pushing for the arrest of acting town clerk Vakai Chikwekwe for allegedly “stealing” a service delivery vehicle when he was suspended without pay and benefits in February this year.

Chikwekwe, who is the substantive chamber secretary, is also accused of stealing council minutes and contravening his bail conditions by reporting to work while on suspension.

The 698th ordinary council meeting ejected acting chamber secretary Tapiwa Marerwa to go and make a report of theft at the Gweru Central Police Station.

Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and other councillors had complained about the lack of urgency by council to recover the vehicle, a Nissan Navara.

According to the councillors, Chikwekwe’s suspension instructed him to surrender all council property including the vehicle.

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Chikwekwe was arrested on February 17 this year on allegations of criminal abuse of office for allegedly awarding tenders unprocedurally to three private companies to develop Mkoba 21 residential stands.

He appeared in court and was released on $100 000 bail.

Councillors blamed management for failing to implement a council resolution to report the issue as theft and also recover the vehicle within 14 days.

Kombayi said Chikwekwe was not allocated the vehicle but instead stole it.

“Chikwekwe stole the vehicle, and you should have a Report Received Book (RRB) number from the police which says Chikwekwe stole the vehicle,” he said.

He said heads would roll if management failed to recover the vehicle within 24 hours as they had treated the issue with kid gloves.

Ward 11 councillor Albert Chirau said service delivery teams did not have enough vehicles while Chikwekwe was illegally keeping a council vehicle illegally.

He said the effort used to recover a Toyota Prado which former mayor Josiah Makombe had taken away when he was recalled from council was not the same that was being used to recover the vehicle that Chikwekwe was holding on to.

Chirau said council should engage the same team which recovered the vehicle from Makombe, which comprised officials from the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution and the provincial Joint Operations Command.

Acting Town Clerk Livingstone Churu said police had treated the matter as a labour case and not theft when they went to make a report, adding the law enforcers had advised them to obtain an order from the courts for them to recover the vehicle.

Chikwekwe has since challenged his suspension at the courts arguing that the letter suspending him contradicted the special council report. New Ziana