|Council tender scandal unearthed|
|Saturday, 11 August 2012 19:47|
Senior ReporterA SERIOUS tender scandal has been unearthed in the Zvishavane Town Council where the municipality’s tender committee has been allegedly inflating figures for tenders, swindling the town of money they would allegedly share among themselves.
Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister, Dr Ignatius Chombo, last Friday ordered the suspension of the entire tender committee to allow for further investigations to be carried out to determine the exact amount council lost and the course of action to be taken.
He said the level of corruption in most urban councils had reached fever pitch, adding that it was surprising how an unemployed councillor would build a 27-roomed house as was happening in Harare.
Dr Chombo said steps would be taken to make councillors accountable for properties they have where they would be asked to declare sources of revenue.
In an interview at Chief Masunda’s homestead where he was meeting traditional leaders, Dr Chombo said it had come to his attention through the provincial administrator’s office that the Zvishavane municipality’s tender committee was involved in a scam where they were allegedly inflating tender figures and share the proceeds.
Although he could not be drawn into revealing the amount of money the municipality lost in the scam, he said he was not going to tolerate any corrupt tendencies in councils.
“I am told the councillors in Zvishavane, who were in the tender committee, connived to swindle the town of money through tenders where they would inflate the figures given them and let council pay. They would pay the actual amount and share the figure they would have added. At times they would go and ask the people tendering to inflate the figures and they would naturally buy from them and give them a small percentage as a thank you.
“I have just ordered the provincial administrator to write suspension letters to all the councillors in the tender committee to allow for further investigations in the alleged scam, from where we will determine whether they deserve to be fired or not. The bottom line is that we do not tolerate corruption of any kind in our councils,’’ said Dr Chombo.
He said he had problems of corruption in various councils in the country especially in towns where they were dominated by the MDC.
“Without being political, the MDC councillors are very corrupt, even their party would agree with me. They think they are there to loot council resources and nothing else. To them service delivery comes second. Most of the councillors are there to seek personal gains and not to improve the various towns and cities they offered themselves to represent and it is quite worrying. We have a few Zanu-PF councillors who have also been corrupted by their association with the MDC ones,’’ said Minister Chombo.
He added that he was going to leave no stone unturned and would not be guided by party interests but by the provisions of the Urban Councils Act in dealing with corrupt councillors.