via Chombo-protected TC spends loan on cars 16/05/2014 NewZimbabwe
HARARE mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has launched an investigation into allegations his town clerk used part of a Chinese loan meant for water projects to buy 26 luxury vehicles without authorisation from city fathers.
Manyenyeni early this year suspended the own Clerk, Tendai Mahachi, but the move was blocked by local government minister Ignatius Chombo.
The mayor announced the probe during Thursday’s council meeting after it emerged that the local authority has used $8 million of the $144 million loan facility from China.
The loan was meant for a water distribution rehabilitation project currently underway at Morton Jaffrey water works.
During Thursday’s meeting, councillors accused Mahachi of having a “hidden motive” by not disclosing the expenditure.
They went on to demand a detailed report on how much of the loan has been used and how many vehicles were procured without the knowledge of the city fathers.
Deputy mayor Thomas Muzuwa demanded a breakdown of how the loan has been used, suggesting that there could have been misappropriation of funds.
“Maybe we are just relaxed when there is no longer a single cent remaining under the deal. Why should we be kept in the dark when such things happen?” Muzuwa asked forcing Manyenyeni to call for a probe.
“It’s surprising to see new vehicles lining up in the car park while others are already in the field without us as councillors being informed; we demand to know how things are now being run in this council,” he said.
Muzuwa said they were informed that 26 top of the range vehicles were bought, but Harare water Director, Christopher Zvogbo who was representing the town clerk said he was aware of only 13 vehicles and also acknowledged that $8 million was used.
When he appeared before a Parliamentary probe recently, Manyenyeni told legislators that the loan deal was shrouded in a lot of controversy with the equipment and material procured using the funds over priced by double their value.
“The costs are definitely questionable. In a number of areas some have been itemised and some have not been itemised,” Manyenyeni said.
Mahachi did not attend the meeting to defend himself, a move that some councillors said he might be hiding something by absenting without a reason.