Yeukai Karengezeka and Blessings Chidakwa
Police yesterday arrested Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko, a councillor and an engineer on allegations of abuse of office through corrupt activities involving the sale of commercial stands.
The mayor, who assumed office four months ago, is among top officials that have been arrested in the new dispensation under President Mnangagwa, who is calling for zero tolerance to corruption.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is fighting hard to implement the President‘s call which has started yielding results as there are no sacred cows despite political affiliation with former Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Zanu-PF member Minister Prisca Mupfumira among several bigwigs who have been arrested.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi last night confirmed the arrest of the trio, saying they were still assisting with investigations at St Mary’s Police
“I can confirm that we arrested ward 7 councillor Chitungwiza mayor Lovemore Maiko, ward 2 councillor Kudakwashe John and works director David Duma and they are currently assisting police with investigations.
“The trio are being charged with criminal abuse of office involving the selling of commercial land in Chitungwiza, 2 000 square metres at Chigovanyika Shopping Centre. They later sold 1 500 of land to the wife of the mayor after a council resolution they made,” he said.
However, reports from sources at Town House said another councillor who is also alleged to be deeply involved in the scam Richard Chamutsa is said to be on the run.
The sources close to the on-goings said the councillors were bribed and allocated some commercial stands at Chigovanyika shopping centre without a proper council resolution.
“Mayor and his other councillors were bribed by a suspected MDC top official and sold out commercial stands at Chigovanyika for allocation of a service station without the knowledge of the town clerk Dr George Makunde.
“The whole this was not procedural, no certificates from either ZERA or EMA were submitted and presented before full council meeting,” said one of the sources.
The recommendation to sell the land at Chigovanyika was shot down by councillors during a recent full council meeting due to many grey areas, but the trio allegedly proceeded with their decision.
City fathers argued that it was not proper to have a service station in the area which was too close to residential houses as it was dangerous because of its vicinity to residential houses.
The sources further allege that Maiko was no longer seeing eye to eye with Dr Makunde’s whom he was now undermining as the town clerk and is said to have written him a letter on Wednesday warning him to be effective in his duty threatening to fire him.
We understand that Mayor Maiko has not been in good books with the town clerk Dr George Makunde.
“As such he wrote a letter warning Dr Makunde that he must report for work daily and attend council meetings since he is usually absent most of the times. This did not go down well with him”.
Informal land deals have been the order of the day at Chitungwiza Town house mostly being spearheaded by councillors in connivance with some members of management and some junior employees.
Dr Makunde last night could not respond to the allegations saying he was yet to get information regading the arrest of the trio.
In April 2017 Government suspended former Chitungwiza Mayor Phillip Mutoti and 24 other councillors for allegedly corruptly allocating themselves tracts of land worth over $7 million.
They were later cleared the charges.