Gift Banda responds to corruption allegations
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