More corruption unearthed in Harare water project

A committee investigating the project to resuscitate Harare’s water infrastructure has said they unearthed more corrupt practices and were unable to audit accounts in a multi-million dollar loan from China, because no such bank account had been created.

According to The Herald newspaper a loan of over $144 million, granted by China’s Eximbank to help repair the capital’s deteriorated water and sewerage structures, was deposited in an off shore account and all project payments are made by the China Machinery and Equipment Corporation (CMEC).

This has made it difficult to trace the funds for a council committee, recently appointed to investigate alleged corruption in the water rehabilitation project. This adds to allegations dating back to May this year, when the Harare city Council revealed that some of the money from the Chinese loan had been diverted to buying cars for councillors.

In a council meeting at the time, the mayor said part of the loan had been used to buy 25 luxury vehicles, including Land Rovers. But acting town clerk Christopher Zvobgo offered a figure of 13 vehicles, after first stating that only 8 were provided for in the project itself.

In May it was estimated that about $8 million had been spent on cars for councillors, but the council agreed to establish exactly how much had already been spent on the project and whether overpricing was a factor. This led to the appointment of a committee of two councillors and three experts to investigate the project, and they now say they failed to access any project documents to further their probe and determine whether there was corrupt abuse of funds.

Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni confirmed to SW Radio Africa in May that some vehicles had been purchased with part of the loan, and there was also concern over the possibility of “duplication” of budget items.

The Chinese deal was negotiated and signed for by the then Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, and town clerk Tendai Mahachi, who remains in this position despite having been suspended by the current administration.

Mahachi had failed to comply with orders to reveal the salaries of senior council executives and was controversially saved by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo. (SW Radio Africa)


 
Listen to CORAH FM Live on Channel Zim today from 1 - 5pm

1pm - 1:20pm

In our NEWS presented by LOYCE MURENGAMI, Harare residents respond to President Robert Mugabe's statements that the national economy is on the rebound, AND, Heal Zimbabwe Trust speak on the recent nominations of individuals who will be members of various constitutional bodies.

1:20pm -2pm

YEUKAI KAPISA hosts the programme COMMUNITY FOCUS looking at a report prepared by Harare city councilors on how funds from the China Exim Bank loan were utilised.

2pm-3pm

In AROUND HARARE, TINOTENDA MUNYUKWI looks at the return of tape water in Harare. Residents will speak on the state of the water (which had a blackish colour) and Harare City Council officials will also advise the residents on how to treat the water.

3pm- 4pm
YEUKAI will host Charity Bango in MEET YOUR COUNCILOR. Bango is Harare Ward 41 councilor and she will explain different development activities that she has embarked on in the ward.

After that, at 3:30pm, TINOTENDA will host DIASPORA VOICES looking at the hot issue of job permits for Zimbabweans in South Africa. How will the Zimbabweans handle the situation if South Africa insists it will not renew these work permits.

4pm

REPEAT NEWS

4:20pm -5pm

RUTENDO will then close the day's programming with the live - phone-in ZVIRIMUGAPU engaging ordinary citizens about their views on Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa's statements to the effect that using the United States Dollar is causing economic problems in Zimbabwe.

You can phone us live on +263 4 782199 or Whatsapp +263 771 611761

 
Chi-town residents wary of soldiers

Chitungwiza residents say the engagement of the Zimbabwe National Army by the town council to take over service delivery duties which have been paralyzed by a workers’ strike is not the solution and may lead to militarisation as well as politicising of service delivery in the town.

In a statement, Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) said engaging soldiers is not the solution and should therefore not be accepted. The organisation wrote, ‘we note with concern that after failing to solve problems that face the town, the leadership has taken a decision to engage members of the army. This is not the solution, the solution involves addressing workers' concerns and once this is done, we are certain things will improve. How can you fail to pay workers for 18 months yet you have been collecting revenue from residents and use the money to pay outrageous salaries to senior council managers? Involving the army is not the solution.’

Residents told CORAH the army and police have a record of instilling fear and perpetrating violence against citizens in previous encounters in the restive town. ‘The army used to be sent to beat up people since 2000 and we wouldn’t want them near our homes. Their presence will instill fear on residents and therefore every effort must be made to avoid bringing them here,’ queried Tomas Chitate, a vendor in St Mary’s.

Priscilla Mbizi of Zengeza concurred with Chitate, saying the situation in Chitungwiza was not a war–like one hence the need for a civilian solution. ‘Engaging soldiers should be avoided because we know what the soldiers do, they beat up people. Also of great worry is that since the talk of involvement of soldiers in town management affairs, some ZANU PF youths have started going around threatening residents and striking council workers. They say they will join hands with the soldiers to sniff out MDC supporters in the town,’ complained Mbizi.

Meanwhile, former St Mary’s legislator, Job Sikhala, has also condemned the town’s leadership for rushing to the army without proper consultation with key stakeholders.

Chitungwiza town council workers downed tools two weeks ago in protest against council’s failure to pay outstanding salaries for over a year. They also accused management of plundering revenue collected through rate payments.


 
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