The Government has condemned the move by Harare City Council to reinstate senior and middle managers with pending corruption court cases, saying such moves are tantamount to undermining the courts.
Local Government and Public Works Minister Cde July Moyo on Wednesday said by reinstating the arrested and suspended employees, there was no guarantee that they will not interfere with evidence and or with witnesses since they were among their subordinates.
“If you start bringing people on the same job, will they not mess up with records?” he said.
“How can they not when they are facing jail?
“We are talking about people who have records, who are supervisors and all those under them, how can they not be intimidated?”
Minister Moyo said when there was prima facie evidence that they ought to answer in court, administratively the officials will have done something which the city must be worried about.
“To bring them back when investigations are still going on, what about the paperwork, the intimidation they can bring to the workers who are there,” he said.
Minister Moyo said he had told the city mayor Jacob Mafume that the courts were there to make sure that those who were accused were brought to book.
“So, l leave it to the council, but l am sure that the courts will look very unkind to the situation where there are ongoing investigations and that person is given access to documents,” he said.
Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said senior council officials implicated in corruption should be cleared by the courts and internal disciplinary hearings within the shortest possible time before they could be allowed back at work.
“The magnitude of corruption in the city of Harare needs urgent intervention,” he said.
“Any delay in concluding investigations will jeopardise service provision and take us back to the 2007-2008 levels where there was impunity and high levels of unaccountability in the whole system of council.”
Combined Harare Residents Association director Mrs Loreen Mupasiri-Sani said the reinstatement was not acceptable as it displayed the council’s lack of seriousness in addressing corruption.
Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust head Mr Shepherd Chikomba said the move was off-side.
“We will demonstrate against the council if they bring the suspects at Town House,” he said. “So, what it means is the whole council is corrupt, the Government needs to intervene.”
Zimbabwe Combined Residents Association (ZICORA) president Mr McSteven Nyabvure said the reinstatement was an attempt to perpetuate corruption.
According to the recent Human Resources and General Purposes committee minutes, the council resolved to recommend the reinstatement of those with flexible bail conditions.
Among those under suspension are town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango, director of housing and community services Mr Addmore Nhekairo, acting human capital director Mr Matthew Marara.
A number of other city employees have also appeared in court and are on bail.