Senior magistrate arrested in gold war
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