Massive Rot Unearthed In Rusape

..Town council secretary placed on forced leave pending investigations

Rusape Town Council secretary Solomon Gabaza was placed on forced leave over allegations of abuse of office, financial misappropriation, maladministration, gross incompetence and gross insubordination following an investigation into his conduct.

The internal investigation, also recommended his arrest on fraud, unearth a litany of administrative malpractices, nepotism, theft of council resources and fraudulent activities, by Gabaza’s office.

Local Government and Public Works, Minister July Moyo has since appointed a three-member team to investigate circumstances leading to Gabaza’s forced leave and asses the validity of allegations leveled against him.

The five-member committee — appointed by council in terms of Section 100 of the Urban Councils Act —included Councilors Peter Kwesha (chairperson) and Blessmore Pambureni, as well as Messers Maxwell Chiwanza, Wakina Cholomoni and Scriveni Marozva.

In the committee’s report, tabled its report on Friday June 3rd also recommends a forensic audit to dig into the housing, treasury and engineering departments as there are suspicions that Gabaza was involved in murky deals there.

The report was adopted by a special full council, before Council chairman, Cllr Lyton Sithole submitted it to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.

“The report is out and we presented the findings to the parent ministry on Tuesday (30 June). However, I cannot share with you what we discussed,” said Cllr Sithole.

Criminal charges against Gabaza allegedly stem from abuse of office, including creation of stands without council resolution, allocation of stands unprocedurally, recruitment of staff against council laid down policies and without interviews.

Part of the committee’s report reads: “The investigation committee found that most of the allegations leveled against the town secretary are credible and is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to charge him with serious acts of misconduct.

“The committee therefore recommends that the town secretary be brought before a disciplinary hearing committee to account for conduct which is inconsistent with the discharge of his duties and that a report be made to the police and ZACC for all the criminal charges.”

Charges against Gabaza also include authorizing building inspections and use of council equipment without payment.

On the allocation of stands, Gabaza is being accused of approving land allocations in Gopal In-fill, Mabvazuva Turn-Off, Silverbow In-fill and Crocodile In-fill in defiance of the Local Government Ministry’s Moratorium on Land Allocations.

Fraud charges allegedly stem from manipulation of council billing system, encashment of leave days and double dipping of fuel.

The committee also noted that the council’s recruitment procedure lacked consistency as there was rampant employment of unqualified people in strategic and key positions. “The town council must urgently conduct a skills audit to ensure that the right people with right qualifications are placed in the right positions.”

Council’s billing system was noted as to be ‘in shambles’ as it is being manned by unqualified personnel.

The system recently crushed, resulting in the treasury department failing to produce financial statements for 2019.

“To date, council books have not been audited and have not met the deadline set in the Urban Councils Act.” The committee also established that service delivery is poor in the town, with a tour of the Vengere 602 Hall and public toilets revealing a health time bomb.

The committee also noted alleged rampant abuse of fuel at the council.

“While it appears the treasury department is in control on the issuance and allocation of fuel, the town secretary had in fact moved the allocation of fuel to central administration, a department he heads. This has resulted in unauthorised persons accessing fuel, while some employees, especially the procurement manager, have been drawing excessive quantities.

“The procurement manager would draw fuel from the service station without any authorisation. Sometimes he would draw fuel twice a day. He also drew fuel using private vehicles. In total, the council lost 3 260 litres of fuel to non-council services during the period in question, and this only refers to redeemable coupons.”

The probe team also noted that council’s billing system was in shambles as it is being manned by unqualified personnel.

The system recently crushed, resulting in the treasury department failing to produce financial statements for 2019.

“To date, council books have not been audited and have not met the deadline set in the Urban Councils Act.” The committee also established that service delivery is poor in the town, with a tour of the Vengere 602 Hall and public toilets revealing a health time bomb.

The committee also noted alleged rampant abuse of fuel at the council.

“While it appears the treasury department is in control on the issuance and allocation of fuel, the town secretary had in fact moved the allocation of fuel to central administration, a department he heads. This has resulted in unauthorised persons accessing fuel, while some employees, especially the procurement manager, have been drawing excessive quantities.

“The procurement manager would draw fuel from the service station without any authorisation. Sometimes he would draw fuel twice a day. He also drew fuel using private vehicles. In total, the council lost 3 260 litres of fuel to non-council services during the period in question, and this only refers to redeemable coupons.”

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