THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is investigating how four senior managers in Harare City Council’s Water Department were dismissed ahead of the forensic audit on council ordered by President Mnangagwa a fortnight ago.
ZACC is looking into the possibility that the dismissal of the managers, Engineers Simon Muserere (Wastewater Division), Artwel Ruhukwa (Water Production), Richard Kunyadini (Water Distribution) and Mr Teddy Mafuko (Quality Assurance) could have been a ploy by some directors at council to cover up a trail of graft.
The case was opened under reference number RRB001125 at ZACC.
ZACC spokesperson Commissioner John Makamure said it was too early to comment.
However, according to a report to ZACC, in possession of The Sunday Mail, the dismissals are alleged to have been engineered by some managers linked to the Town Clerk, Engineer Hosiah Chisango.
The report to ZACC alleges that the managers were dismissed for offences committed by the Installation and Maintenance Manager, Engineer Edmore Chawasemerwa, who is allegedly working in cahoots with Engineer Chisango.
Contacted for comment last week, Engineer Chisango, who was later arrested and remanded in custody on a separate case, said:
“People are dismissed every time sometimes fairly and sometimes unfairly. If they feel aggrieved they should appeal to the Labour court rather than dealing with the issue in the press.”
However, the report to ZACC alleges that after concocting the allegations for the offences he committed himself, Engineer Chawasemerwa, in his new capacity as acting Director for the Harare Water department, appointed a tribunal chaired by his acquaintance to preside over disciplinary hearings for the four managers.
Responding to questions from The Sunday Mail, Engineer Chawasemerwa said he could not have forced the re-awarding of tenders to the two companies as he shared a similar rank to the four affected managers.
“And as such, I didn’t have the power to dismiss fellow managers, but for more, you can talk to the head of department as I do not have the authority to speak to you,” he said.
Allegations are that in finding the four managers guilty, Engineer Chawasemerwa’s acquaintance side-lined the Integrated Results-Based Management System (IRBM) which is used to detect corruption by disciplinary committees.
Also, it is alleged that by side-lining IRBM, Engineer Chawasemerwa and his acquaintances’ motives were to eliminate whistle-blowers and conceal criminal activities at Firle Sewage Treatment Plant.
Further allegations against Engineer Chawasemerwa are that he attempted to unduly re-engage two companies without going to tender.
The now dismissed Wastewater divisional manager Engineer Muserere objected to the re-engagement of the contractors leading to his reported victimisation.
President Mnangagwa, a fortnight ago, ordered a forensic audit at Harare City Council to get to the bottom of deep-rooted corruption that has seen two mayors, many councillors and senior officials at Town House being arrested.
The audit is being conducted by the Auditor-General, Mrs Mildred Chiri, with the results to be submitted to the President once the audit is complete.
Corruption in the MDC-run council — mostly involving the irregular parcelling out of land — has resulted in the arrest of the former mayor, Herbert Gomba, his successor Jacob Mafume and several councillors