By Everson Mushava
A FIVE-MEMBER integrity panel set up by MDC leader Nelson Chamisa last year to probe corrupt activities involving party deployees in local authorities will target Harare City Council as its first assignment, investigating all the deals entered into by the opposition-run municipality.
Addressing journalists yesterday, the integrity and accountability panel chairman, Advocate Thabani Mpofu said his panel would recommend prosecution for criminal conduct not only in the MDC-run councils, but all tiers of government the party members are deployed.
Mpofu said his panel would not be averse to co-operation with government institutions such as the police, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority, but where those institutions would have failed to co-operate the panel would consider other legal means provided by the law.
“We will, in the coming weeks, turn our attention to the City of Harare. We intend to deal in the first instance with all the contracts, running contracts, unclosed contract, to which the City of Harare is part,” he said.
“We will look at the nature and number of contracts to which the City of Harare is part to, the identities of the contractors, the numbers by value, both in US dollar terms and in local dollar terms of the amounts involved in the contracts, the manner the contracts were awarded and the efficiency with which they are being performed, including the standard of work discharged by the contracted companies.
“We want to establish whether the people of Harare are receiving the benefits of those contracts.”
Last year, Chamisa formed the panel, which he said would investigate allegations of corruption within MDC-run councils to foster a culture of accountability and integrity.
The MDC controls the majority of urban local authorities in the country.
The councils have been accused of corruption, with Zanu PF using the allegations to discredit the opposition party’s ability to run the affairs of the country. But last year, Chamisa said he would weed out corrupt elements from the MDC.
Mpofu said the panel’s work won’t be a witch-hunting exercise and will not be limited to councils only.