4 coun­cil ex­ec­u­tives named in land scam

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Post Re­porter

MUTARE City Coun­cil has placed on forced leave four ex­ec­u­tives who are be­lieved to be be­hind fraud­u­lent land sales that bled the lo­cal author­ity over the past two decades.

This fol­lows a re­quest made by Govern­ment au­di­tors who are cur­rently sta­tioned at the Civic Cen­tre to in­ves­ti­gate du­bi­ous trans­ac­tions that re­port­edly prej­u­diced the lo­cal author­ity mil­lions of dol­lars in lost rev­enue.

Cham­ber sec­re­tary, Mr Cephas Vuta, re­vealed on Tues­day that Messrs Chris­tian Sit­hole (Chief Com­mu­nity Of­fi­cer), Is­dore Bin­gura (Para Le­gal Of­fi­cer), Joaquim Gonese (Val­u­a­tion Of­fi­cer/Val­uer) and Tawanda Ka­nen­goni (Le­gal Of­fi­cer) were sent on forced leave as per re­quest from the au­di­tors.

“We had ex­ter­nal au­di­tors last year who rou­tinely au­dit coun­cil af­fairs as per statu­tory re­quire­ments.

“The au­dit was done by UDCORP and these au­di­tors picked up a lot of anom­alies to the ef­fect that land was abused in Mutare for past 10 years or so.

“So in their find­ings the au­di­tors ad­vised coun­cil to en­gage Govern­ment so that it sends its au­di­tors to specif­i­cally look into the land is­sue.

“This is why the min­istry has sent the cur­rent au­di­tors who have been do­ing their work at the Civic Cen­tre for more than five weeks now,” said Mr Vuta.

In their pre­lim­i­nary find­ings, he said, the au­di­tors found out that the four coun­cil ex­ec­u­tives were heav­ily in­volved in fraud­u­lent land deals.

“The find­ings of the au­di­tors were based on in­ter­views they did with clients, ev­i­dence they col­lected from coun­cil and var­i­ous other meth­ods they used to come up to that con­clu­sion.

“They said the im­pli­cated coun­cil of­fi­cials were heav­ily in­volved in the cor­rupt deals.

“The se­cu­rity of the au­di­tors was the main is­sue or rather rea­son they asked coun­cil to send the quar­tet on forced leave in or­der to fin­ish their find­ings with­out hin­drance or in­tim­i­da­tion,” said Mr Vuta.

He said the au­di­tors have taken a short break and would re­sume duty soon af­ter which they would present a de­tailed re­port to coun­cil.

It was not clear whether the au­dit team was also look­ing into land scan­dals in­volv­ing coun­cil­lors who re­cently ex­posed each other.

Last month mayor - Coun­cil­lor Ta­tenda Nhama­rare - or­dered the Town Clerk, Mr Joshua Maligwa, to im­me­di­ately present a re­port that details all the stands that were al­lo­cated to sit­ting coun­cil­lors amid re­ports that some city fa­thers cor­ruptly ob­tained the pieces of land.

This fol­lows an out­cry by fel­low coun­cil­lors who ac­cused him of forc­ing man­age­ment to al­lo­cate him­self a res­i­den­tial stand that was al­legedly set aside for a church build­ing.

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