3 Harare councillors arrested

via 3 Harare councillors arrested | The Herald December 9, 2015

Innocent Ruwende and Tendai Rupapa—-
Three councillors and Harare Municipal Medical Aid Society (HMMAS) board chair Sasha Jogi have been arrested for allegedly siphoning over $70 000 from the society. Another councillor is reportedly on the run. One of the councillors is facing additional charges of using his position to acquire a commercial stand in Waterfalls, which he traded with a 30-tonne truck. More councillors are expected to be nabbed as investigations have been widened to include other council businesses from which they are suspected of benefiting. Several of the councillors were summoned and questioned yesterday, but were released pending further police investigations.

The four councillors, who are HMMAS board members, are alleged to have awarded themselves hefty amounts as sitting allowances against the approved rates. It is not clear how much each of the councillors received.

One of the councillors, Hammy Madzingira (Sunningdale), appeared in court yesterday charged with fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of duty as a public officer, while Budiriro councillor Panganai Charumbira and Mbare councillor Anthony Shangadeya were picked up yesterday. Mbare councillor Maureen Nyemba is on the run after she failed to report to police for questioning. Reports last night showed that HMMAS board chair Jogi had been arrested over the same matter.

This comes after Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere ordered an audit into the city’s business entities and joint ventures most of which have not been contributing to the city’s revenue streams. The audit followed revelations that most city deals, especially joint venture agreements, were riddled with corruption.

City business ventures include the city’s farms, nursery, real estate (Rufaro Marketing Property Asset), hospitality and parks.

Among the city’s business ventures, only City Parking has been declaring reasonable dividends to council. Council sources yesterday said this could be the start of a spate of arrest of councillors who are abusing funds in other council entities. Harare mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday confirmed the development, but said he was still to be briefed on the matter by Dr Jogi.

“Yes, the councillors have been summoned by police,” he said. “I am not aware if they have gone. I would urge them to cooperate fully with the investigations. “The matter relates to HMMAS and I await a response from chairman of the board (Dr Jogi).”

Allegations against councillor Madzingira, who represents Ward 10 (Sunningdale), and sits in the council’s two committees – human resources and finance – are that he and other board members who are still at large hatched a plan to siphon money from HMMAS.

They allegedly paid themselves varying amounts of money and Madzingira was given $10 000 as sitting allowances. Sometime this year, Madzingira is alleged to have applied for a commercial stand in Waterfalls using a non-existent company called Trend Security Pvt Ltd. It is alleged he tendered forged company documents to the City of Harare purporting as if he was one of the directors of the said company.

Acting on the misrepresentation, the City of Harare gave him the stand which he later gave away in exchange of 30 tonne truck, trailer and $20 000 cash. Madzingira was charged with fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of duty as a public officer when he appeared before Mr Elijah Makomo. Mr Makomo dismissed an application by the State to place him on remand after police detained him beyond the time allowed by the Constitution.

The State will proceed by way of summons.