The Zimbabwe Independent

Suspended council boss back at work, embroiled in new scam

- TINASHE KAIRIZA

SUSPENDED Harare City Council Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango, who is facing criminal charges for alleged illegal sale of residentia­l stands, has been embroiled in a fresh ZW$51 million (US$636 000) Covid-19 materials tender scandal.

A recent council audit signed off by audit manager Archibald Nyamurova, revealed that a controvers­ial firm Eqstra Hardware and Electrical­s was cherry picked to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) before unjustifie­d price adjustment­s were effected to prejudice the local authority.

Eqstra Hardware owned by a former council official Albert Ndabambi was awarded a tender to supply 10 000 Tyvec suits valued at ZW$19 720 000 (US$243 000).

A council audit report indicate that Chisango, finance director Stanley Ndemera and supply chain manager Never Murerwa agreed to a price variation of ZW$5 521 (US$68) from ZW$2 997 (US$37) per kit to Eqstra Hardware, which was not shortliste­d for the tender.

Council procuremen­t officer Abel Dzuke is also accused of playing a part in the alleged tender scandal. He, however, denies the allegation­s.

Chisango instituted the audit into the controvers­ial tender that is now subject to a probe by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

Approached for comment, Chisango declined to comment.

“I am not going to comment,” he said, curtly.

Further investigat­ions have also unearthed that Chisango, who was suspended due to pending criminal cases, has dramatical­ly bounced back at Town House under unclear circumstan­ces.

A defiant, Chisango this week handed over a consignmen­t of Covid-19 protective clothing to Harare district administra­tor Oliver Chari. e materials were donated by the Chinese embassy.

Following Chisango’s suspension, director of works Isaiah Chawatama was acting Town Clerk.

“ ere is confusion at council as there are effectivel­y two bosses. However, procedural­ly Chisango is supposed to be on suspension until his matter is finalised at the courts,” said a council insider who cannot be named for profession­al reasons.

Upon his return, Chisango ordered the public safety division to report to him instead of the chamber secretary’s office.

Apparently, his alleged underhand land deals were exposed by the Public safety division implicated him.

e public safety department in April 2020, raised a red flag against the then acting human capital director retired Major Matthew Marara and other officials for illegally parcelling out council land in Kuwadzana.

e internal memorandum listed 17 Council officials, including principal housing officer Edgar Dzehonye, acting district officer Believer Mupawaenda, building inspector Alex Zandonda, revenue clearing officer Zvakanyorw­a Mazano and land survey technician Austin Tapiwanash­e as beneficiar­ies of the stands scam.

Council operator Tapiwa Gona, survey assistant Tonderayi Mukora, district officer Kuwadzana Rudo Chigocha, meter reader Tineyi Kureva and water technician Gideon Machaya also feature on the list.

Chisango wrote to public safety head Moyo on December 24, issuing the directive.

“I am pleased to inform you that with immediate effect, you will cease to report to the Chamber Secretary and report to the Town Clerk. is has been necessitat­ed by the current restructur­ing exercise.

“You are therefore instructed to report to my office, or contact me immediatel­y for further instructio­ns.”

In response, the acting Chamber Secretary Charles Kandemiri said “council authority should be sought first” to legalise the new directive.

He wrote to Chisango on December 28, that, “ e inherent change to the Chamber Secretary is noted. I have no problem with the developmen­t. However, there may have been oversight concerning procedural compliance.

“In my considered view, for a proper restructur­ing entailing change of organogram­s, council authority should be sought first.”

e dramatic return of Chisango has also caught the attention of central government as Harare Metropolit­an provincial coordinato­r Tafadzwa Muguti questioned how suspended council employees wormed back to office.

“Please be advised that employees who are currently out on bail should not be allowed back at work until investigat­ions and the cases are concluded at the courts. We note with concern that employees currently out on bail are colluding with some council officials to be reinstated or elevated to senior positions within council in order to influence ongoing investigat­ions….as well as intimidati­ng other members from testifying.

“We are also seriously concerned that promotions are being awarded to the same employees as a reward for protecting their interests. I, therefore, urge all local authoritie­s to respect all ongoing investigat­ions and desist from moving staff around as a way of hiding corrupt activities,” Muguti wrote to Chawatama, on December 3.

Chawatama declined to comment as he referred questions to acting Mayor Stewart Mutizwa.

Local Government and Public Works minister July Moyo did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

A defiant, Chisango this week handed over a consignmen­t of Covid-19 protective clothing to Harare district administra­tor Oliver Chari. e materials were donated by the Chinese embassy.

 ??  ?? Harare City Council Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango
Harare City Council Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango

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