Norton Town Council has come under fire after the constituency’s legislator Temba Mliswa wrote to the country’s Auditor General Mildred Chiri requesting a forensic audit a few days after the Town Secretary clashed with the Finance Director.
In a letter written last month NTC Town Secretary Muhomba wrote to Finance Director Mr. Tendaupenyu notifying him to go on forced leave pending investigations into his handling of various tenders notably the acquisition of two compactors from Podilla Ventures.
The compactors are yet to be delivered years after they were allegedly paid for.
Whilst you are on leave, I am going to institute investigations on a number of issues pertaining to the way you have handled some tenders. I will also institute an enquiry into the manner the Finance Department is being run generally”, he said.
However the Finance Director, through his lawyers Kadzere Hungwe and Mandevere, hit back at Muhomba accusing him of using illegal means to send him on forced leave.
“Your action in this regard is not supported by any law, the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) which governs the contract between our client and NTC does not provide for forced leave.”
“It is therefore our position that your conduct to send our client on forced leave for purposes of investigating him is unlawful. Therefore may you lift your unlawful notice to go on leave and our client will voluntarily take his own leave days”.
The Town Secretary subsequently conceded and agreed that Tendaupenyu return to work.
The acrimonious clashes and shaddy happenings at the council have however also caught the attention of the legislator Hon Temba Mliswa who has since written to the Auditor General requesting a forensic audit of the council’s books.
He suspects corrupt activities since the fallout between Tendaupenyu and Muhomba came about after the legislator told a public gathering that council had received over US$150 000 for the acquisition of the compactors from RBZ.
This has increased uneasiness amongst the town residents.
In his letter the legislator stated that previous audit recommendations had not been implemented thus justifying the need for a national involvement.
“With elections having recently taken place and the incoming of new players, now would be an opportune time to conduct the aforementioned audit to pave way for meaningful progress for the upcoming five years”.
“The disarray at NTC needs to come to an end and I further propose that the individuals implicated in or that have been arrested in connection with irregularities at the council be suspended pending the completion of such an audit to avoid the threat of evidence tampering”, he said.
Besides this case NTC has already been in the news after 3 former councilors were recently arraigned before the courts on corruption charges.
The councillors Munyeveri Muchaneta (56), Eager Vupenyu Takawira (50), Precious Mufahore (32) and Blessing Mutyambizi (49), a former housing director, appeared before Chief Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, who remanded them on $200 bail each.
It is alleged that on April 1, 2014, Mutyambizi connived with Muchaneta, Mufahore and Takawira to corruptly allocate themselves residential stands given to council by Galloway Projects as payment to settle rates arrears.
Muchaneta and his accomplices allegedly sold five residential stands to councillors at 40% discount, prejudicing Norton Town Council of $28 000.
The councillors had previously benefited from a similar council facility.
Corruption has been endemic at NTC for the past years severely stifling development in the town which still has no water reticulation system despite having two dams nearby and has no roads in some of its wards.
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