Se­nior mag­is­trate ar­rested in gold war

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Vusumuzi Dube Pa­trick Chi­tumba

SE­NIOR of­fi­cials at the Bu­l­awayo City Coun­cil have been fin­gered in ten­der scams that could have prej­u­diced the lo­cal author­ity of more than $1 mil­lion.

A Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing re­port on cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against of­fi­cials has re­vealed the mas­sive rot.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which has re­sulted in the sus­pen­sion of five coun­cil­lors in­clud­ing deputy mayor, Coun­cil­lor Gift Banda, has been largely com­mended by Bu­l­awayo res­i­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team found a num­ber of ten­ders which were awarded un­der r un­clear cir­cum­stances.

In some cases, con­trac­tors were given ad­vance pay­ment guar­an­tees de­spite the ten­ders hav­ing been can­celled.

The re­port sin­gled out ten­ders for the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of var­i­ous plant equip­ment at Thorn­grove, Aisleby three, Lu­veve and South­ern Ar­eas Sew­er­age Treat­ment Works (Con­tract Num­ber 24/2010); ap­point­ment of Con­sol­i­dated En­gi­neers and Mer­chants [CEM] by coun­cil for the same con­tract and the con­tract for the sup­ply, in­stal­la­tion and com­mis­sion­ing of a cre­ma­tor at West Park cre­ma­to­rium.

An­other con­tract which raised stink is the al­lo­ca­tion of res­i­den­tial stands at Sel­bourne

Brooke which were al­legedly corruptly sold to Bu­l­awayo Glass and Al­lied Prod­ucts de­spite the com­pany pre­vi­ously fail­ing to de­velop the stands.

In the first con­tract which was be­ing spon­sored by the In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment Bank of Zim­babwe, coun­cil awarded the ini­tial ten­der to SSI Engi­neer­ing at a cost of $6,5 mil­lion. How­ever, IDBZ only funded the project to the tune of $800 000.

“Coun­cil then re­quested SSI to pro­vide iden­ti­fied works that could be ex­e­cuted un­der the $800 000 bud­get. SSI Engi­neer­ing gave a lump­sum bud­get for the works that were to be done un­der the $800 000. Coun­cil then re­quested for a break­down from SSI Engi­neer­ing which the lat­ter failed to pro­duce, lead­ing to a dis­pute and coun­cil later can­celled the con­tract.

“SSI Engi­neer­ing re­ceived ad­vance pay­ment guar­an­tee of $125 129, be­ing 30 per­cent ad­vance given to them. There is no ev­i­dence of how the ad­vance was utilised or whether it was re­cov­ered. Coun­cil did not pro­vide ev­i­dence of the ad­vance pay­ment bonds for these projects,” reads the re­port.

De­spite hav­ing paid the ad­vance pay­ment — which they did not re­cover — and later can­celling the con­tract, the lo­cal author­ity went fur­ther to award the same con­tract to Con­sol­i­dated En­gi­neers and Mer­chants (CEM), this time at a ten­der price of $1 035 005, which was $235 000 above the al­lo­cated bud­get of­fered by IDBZ. A SE­NIOR mag­is­trate and three other vil­lagers have been ar­rested for pub­lic vi­o­lence after they were in­volved in skir­mishes at a vil­lage in Gokwe North over the con­trol of a gold claim.

Collen Chiruma (42) and three al­leged ac­com­plices Re­ward Muriya (34), Mu­razvo Murindi (24) and Daniel Mu­tasa (26) ap­peared be­fore Mid­lands Provin­cial Mag­is­trate Mrs Phathek­ile Msipa yes­ter­day each fac­ing a count of pub­lic vi­o­lence.

They pleaded not guilty and were re­manded out of cus­tody on $100 bail each to Oc­to­ber 5.

Mrs Msipa or­dered them not to visit the mine in dis­pute, Gazemba 257, in Gokwe North un­til the mat­ter is fi­nalised.

They were also or­dered not to in­ter­fere with po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions and state wit­nesses.

The own­er­ship of the mine is in dis­pute with Brian James Zi­jena and the mag­is­trate al­legedly both claim­ing own­er­ship.

Prose­cu­tor, Miss Gra­cious Ron­gayi said on Tues­day at around 2PM, Chiruma and his ac­com­plices ar­rived at Gazemba 257 mine, in Gokwe North driv­ing a Toy­ota Land Cruiser with a group of peo­ple fol­low­ing be­hind their ve­hi­cle.

The mag­is­trate as well as Muriya, Murindi and Mu­tasa, the court heard, dis­em­barked from their ve­hi­cle be­fore Mu­tasa pro­ceeded to the mine shaft.

He al­legedly seized a jack ham­mer and other min­ing tools which were be­ing used for min­ing op­er­a­tions by Gazemba mine work­ers.

“Dur­ing that time, Muriya and Murindi started at­tack­ing the mine work­ers by throw­ing stones at them in­jur­ing one mine worker in the process,” said Miss Ron­gayi.

The prose­cu­tor said Chiruma started tak­ing pho­to­graphs of the com­mo­tion at the mine.

She said the com­mo­tion lasted for about 15 min­utes be­fore Brian James Zi­jena fired two warn­ing shots in the air to put an end to the com­mo­tion.

The mag­is­trate and his al­leged ac­com­plices were ap­pre­hended by mem­bers of the pub­lic.

“The quar­tet was then handed over to the po­lice,” said Miss Ron­gayi. — @pchi­tumba1

Min­is­ters Nomthandazo Moyo, Saviour Ka­sukuwere with Bu­l­awayo Mayor Clr Martin Moyo in the Bu­l­awayo coun­cil cham­bers

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