Gokwe fires ‘corrupt’ town secretary

Source: Gokwe fires ‘corrupt’ town secretary | Newsday (News)

THE Gokwe Town Council has unilaterally resolved to dismiss its town secretary Melania Mandeya over a raft of corruption charges and being unqualified for the job.

The council also fired finance director Joconia Nyoni on allegations of abetting Mandeya in her alleged corrupt activities.

Council chairperson Never Gwanzura confirmed to an online news site, NewZimbabwe.com this week that the two senior officials’ contracts had since been terminated.

Gwanzura said following internal investigations by the council, a resolution was made to dismiss Mandeya and Nyoni from their positions.

The duo also faces criminal charges and was released on bail last year after appearing in court facing abuse of office charges.

“We have dismissed the two following reports of abuse of office after conducting our own internal investigations. The two were dismissed from council due to incompetence and fraudulent activities while the council expected them to be council trustees,” he said.

Gwanzura added that he had since written to Local Government minister July Moyo about the decision.

“As council, we did our duty, we have sent their dismissal letters to the parent ministry, so we are still awaiting a response from the minister,” he said.

Last year, an anti-graft watchdog, the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA), released a damning dossier against Mandeya.

In the report titled The State of Corruption, Service Delivery and Maladministration at Gokwe Town House, Mandeya was reported to be not qualified for the top administrator’s job.

“It is alleged that the current town secretary (Mandeya) was offered the position regardless of having come fourth in interviews, and not having the required qualifications,” the report said.

“Before the interview, the panel was allegedly coached by the then council chairperson to give (better) marks to Melania Mandeya. Furthermore, the incumbent did not apply for the post during the first round of applications and the post had to be re-advertised to accommodate her application.”

According to ACTSA, unidentified influential and senior officials at the Local Government ministry facilitated for Mandeya to get the job.

The report further claimed that before Mandeya assumed the position of town secretary, she was illegally paid the salary and allowances for the job, although some senior council managers protested.

ACTSA’s report also accused Mandeya of awarding tenders to her relatives and close friends.

“It is alleged that tenders are sometimes awarded to family members, friends and compatriots. For instance, the tender for the supply of curtains to the Town House was awarded to a relative, while in May 2019, the tender for catering services of a bench-marking exercise was awarded to another relative,” the report stated.

“On or about 2011/2, the local authority paid US$23 000 for a brand new Nissan NP300 truck, which has never been delivered to date. In the process, the local authority suffered financial loss to the tune of US$23 000.

“Council also bought a Chevrolet vehicle for US$58 000, where there were other bidders who had charged less. For instance, there was a bidder who had charged US$51 000. Considering financial constraints besetting the local authority it would have saved $7 000.”

The report further claimed that Mandeya, acting against council regulations, took possession of two residential stands in Gokwe’s low-density suburb. -Online