MDC-T Chitungwiza provincial executive committee has appointed an independent investigation board to probe allegations of corruption being levelled against its councillors in Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Norton following recent press reports of sleaze within the municipalities.
By Philemon Jambaya
“The move was precipitated by a damning internal audit report which has reportedly unearthed a massive land scam in Chitungwiza town council,” MDC-T provincial secretary Lloyd Damba told 263chat.
Damba said that the party’s Chitungwiza Province lead by provincial chairman Voice Chinake held a meeting on Saturday to discuss allegations of corruption by its Chitungwiza councillors and other areas within its control. The provincial leadership then appointed an independent committee led by a veteran trade unionist (name supplied) to investigate the allegations.
‘The provincial executive committee has a mandate to jealously guard the values and principles of the party,” he said , adding that allegations of corruption are serious and will dent the brand of excellency created by the party.
‘The chlorination of our local authorities must begin now so as to restore hope in local government. The investigations will cover all the three local authorities within our jurisdiction of Chitungwiza Province, namely Ruwa, Norton and Chitungwiza Municipalities,” he said.
He added that, “The executive unanimously resolved to appoint (name supplied) to chair an Independent Investigation Committee (IIC).
“The chair will bring on board two more people whom he will work with to probe the executive and councillors in question.
However, the provincial executive has also appointed a three-member observer team . The members were drawn from the main body, the youth wing and from the women’s assembly.
Damaba maintains that the observer team will not interfere with the work of the IIC.
‘We patiently await the findings of the IIC and, whatever comes out will be implemented without fear or favour.
The scandal-ridden Chitungwiza municipality has been hard hit by yet another scandal where councillors and staff members allegedly allocated each other council land, prejudicing the local authority of thousands of dollars in potential revenue. This comes at a time when workers have gone for nearly three years without being paid regularly.
According to the audit, for the period April 22, 2015 to January 8, 2016 some councillors (from Zanu PF and MDC) and workers were involved in a stands allocation scam, in which they were parcelling out residential stands to each other without paying anything to council.
The councillors and workers who were unearthed by the report were said to have usurped the role of the planning department by identifying undeveloped stands and submitting land for verification as well as allocation to the department of housing.
They would then allocate the stands to themselves and other connected beneficiaries, thereby enriching themselves while prejudicing council of the much-needed revenue.
Efforts to get a comment from Chitungwiza Mayor Phillip Mutoti, who was also fingered in the audit were fruitless.