Gift Banda re­sponds to cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili

THE Gov­ern­ment has given Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Gift Banda and coun­cil­lor Reuben Matengu up to Tues­day next week to re­spond to cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against them.

The two are part of a group of five coun­cil­lors who were sus­pended in Septem­ber af­ter a Gov­ern­ment au­dit un­earthed il­licit land deals in the coun­cil.

In sep­a­rate in­ter­views yes­ter­day the duo re­vealed that they have re­ceived let­ters in­form­ing them of the dead­line.

Clr Banda said he has al­ready writ­ten to the sec­re­tary of the tri­bunal af­ter re­ceiv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion that he should do so.

“I’ve re­sponded but I can’t dis­close the con­tents of my re­sponse at the mo­ment,” said Clr Banda.

He is ac­cused of un­pro­ce­du­raly pur­chas­ing of a piece of land near As­cot Race Course for the con­struc­tion of town houses.

He is said to have bought the 3,5 hectares of the prime land for a pal­try $130 000 in a move which raised eye­brows and the ire of res­i­dents as­so­ci­a­tions and pres­sure groups.

The two sus­pended coun­cil­lors have been given up to Novem­ber 29 to re­spond to Gov­ern­ment on the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.

Clr Matengu said he was yet to re­spond but con­firmed re­ceiv­ing a let­ter ad­vis­ing him to do so.

“The let­ter was say­ing I’m sup­posed to re­spond in writ­ing to the in­de­pen­dent tri­bunal sec­re­tary. There is a Harare ad­dress on the en­ve­lope. Be­fore I could re­spond, I re­ceived an­other let­ter. The first one had given me seven days and the sec­ond came two days later say­ing I should have re­sponded in writ­ing within 14 days. The 14 days ex­pire on 29 Novem­ber,” he said.

He said be­fore re­spond­ing he needs to un­der­stand some of the clauses in the Ur­ban Coun­cils Act he is charged un­der so that he can prop­erly re­spond.

Clr Matengu is ac­cused of selling a house he had bought on dis­count us­ing coun­cil­lors’ priv­i­leges be­fore the end of his term.

A month ago the Gov­ern­ment ex­on­er­ated three coun­cil­lors — Charles Moyo (Ward Nine), Mzama Dube (Ward 25) and James Sit­hole (Ward Seven) —af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors failed to find ev­i­dence against them.

The Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Pub­lic Works and National Hous­ing sus­pended the coun­cil­lors af­ter the Bulawayo Pro­gres­sive Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion ex­pressed con­cern over al­leged mas­sive grab­bing of land by lo­cal coun­cil­lors.— @nqot­shili.

Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Gift Banda

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