Government has announced that a commission of inquiry will investigate alleged corruption at Gweru City Council targeting the mayor, Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi, town clerk Mr Daniel Matawu and other top officials.
The mayor and the town clerk face corruption allegations after it emerged that they bought about 400 head of cattle at a recent council auction without following proper procedures.
There are also allegations of abuse of funds at the council amid indications that the municipality has 18 bank accounts.
Management and councillors are also accused of gross abuse of travel and subsistence allowances with a large number of extended and unnecessary trips.
A letter written by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing permanent secretary Mr George Mlilo, addressed to the town clerk and chief internal auditor revealed that a commission of inquiry would look into 32 areas of concern.
“A series of allegations have been made by a variety of persons concerning the operations of Gweru City Council,” a letter which is in Chronicle’s possession dated June 24, 2015, signed by Mr Mlilo reads.
“These allegations give the impression of serious malpractice within the local authority and the minister has approved an audit by Ministry auditors and an exercise by the Town Clerk Forum to establish those areas of weakness and to give guidance to the minister of actions required to restore normalcy to the council.”
Mr Mlilo added: “The minister has approved the detailed audit of the books of Gweru City Council for 2014 and 2015.”
He indicated that issues to be looked into include how funds collected by the Revenue Enhancement Team were being used.
“The Revenue Enhancement Team is making progress in the revenue inflows to council but the revenue collected is being used on items other than wages and no explanation is being given to the team,” Mr Mlilo said.
There are also allegations that two councillors told residents not to cooperate with the Revenue Enhancement Team alleging that it was made up of Zanu-PF youths.
“The council offset $41,000 meals bill at Fairmile Hotel with hotel water debt in defiance of the directive to ring fence water cash inflows.
The debt was a result of abuse of the facility by councillors,” Mr Mlilo said.
Some senior managers are also being accused of drawing 80 litres of fuel per week for personal use and that is not captured as an employment cost.
“There is a scam with workers who are grant-aided by PSI with council paying them at council rates when the grant in aid is at a higher level.
Two payslips for each worker are being produced. Some workers have been overpaid and the accounts department then insists that the worker withdraws the excess in cash and the money then disappears,” Mr Mlilo said.
The letter also notes that council sold 400 head of cattle and most of them were bought by the mayor, town clerk and officials.
Other allegations were that a compressor at Gwenoro Dam was taken to Bata Shoe Company and that generators at the dam and fire stations disappeared.
In May, the government suspended councillors Albert Chirau (Ward 11), Kenneth Sithole (Ward 4) and Moses Marecha (Ward 7) on allegations of abuse of council property.