Vusumuzi Dube, Senior Municipal Reporter
THE Government probe team that was recently in Bulawayo, was among other things, tasked with investigating whether Bulawayo City Council officials or councillors were taking bribes in the sale of council land and stands.
The probe team was in the city last month and came at a time when already the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) was investigating a number of issues in the city, this leading to the arrest and subsequent appearing in court of the city’s Director of Housing and Community Services, Mr Dictor Khumalo.
The terms of reference of the Government probe team, according to a council confidential report, was mainly focused on land sales and whether councillors and officials were abusing the system or not.
“The team was to ascertain if there were any non-procedural allocations, payment patterns, developments or plans. Particular attention would be paid to fairness to council of prices charged for land and also whether councillors and officials could have fraudulently benefited from the sale at the expense of council. In particular, efforts would be made to establish if members of the public were made to make two payments (for stands), one to the local authority and another to council officials or councillors,” reads the report.
The team was also tasked with establishing the procedures for land allocation and estate management comparing it to the manual for urban State land management. They were further tasked with looking at the role played by councillors in land allocation and if there were any non-procedural allocations.
“The team was also to investigate the allocation of stands to councillors, officials and their immediate families since January 2016 in order to determine if the allocations complied with the circulars on the matter and good governance, particularly in relation to the number of stands. Also, to uncover any sale of stands allocated to councillors and officials prior to them being fully paid or developed,” reads part of the report.
Bulawayo Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube was in the eye of a storm recently after a proposed allocation of a stand to him ahead of the renewal of his employment contract. Zacc was also interested in the allocation of a plot in Rangemore to the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni and an application by the Mayor to construct duplex flats on stand number 19789 Bulawayo Township, which was eventually turned down by councillors.