Zimbabwe: Harare Finance Director Nabbed

4 December 2020

Harare City Council finance director Tendai Kwenda has been arrested on corruption allegations involving the US$8 million he paid top managers in allowances, holidays, purchase of personal vehicles and hefty retrenchment packages, including a US$1,7 million package for one manager.

President Mnangagwa has declared zero tolerance to corruption and the anti-corruption hawks including the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Unit and Police Anti-Corruption Unit are working tirelessly to bring culprits to book.

The arrests comes barely two days after Harare human resources director Cainos Chingombe was arrested by police working with the SACU for alleged criminal abuse of office and defrauding the council of millions of dollars.

SACU head Mr Thabani Mpofu yesterday confirmed the arrest of Kwenda on charges of authorising the heavy expenditure on managers. One of the top managers, Stanely Mungofa, was given a US$1,7 million retrenchment package in 2014. Harare Metropolitan Provincial Development Coordinator, Mr Tafadzwa Muguti, warned that the arrest of corrupt council officials will continue until order and honesty have been restored in all local authorities.

"I would like to assure that we are not targeting individuals, neither are we driven by politics, but by the mere disgust and distaste of corruption and unethical abuse of office," he said.

"While I would like to assure you that we will not stop as the Provincial Development Directorate to drive out corruption countrywide, I would like therefore to extend a hand of partnership to all councillors and management to join us as Government in driving out corruption while promoting ward-based socio-economic development programmes." Among other top officials recently arrested are mayor Jacob Mafume, former mayor Herbert Gomba, town clerk Hosiah Chisango, housing director Addmore Nhekairo, human capital director Cainos Chingombe and former housing director Matthew Marara.

Meanwhile, security officers yesterday swooped on Chitungwiza Town House and rounded up all councillors and management attending an alleged illegal full council meeting.

The meeting was being chaired by Clr Peter Matiringe as both the mayor Lovemore Maiko and his deputy Musa Makweza have pending criminal abuse of office charges that restrict them from interfering with witnesses at the council offices. They were first detained at St Mary's Police Station in Chitungwiza before being transferred to commercial crimes unit in Harare. One of the council sources said the meeting had been convened to settle personal scores among council officials.

"There is serious infighting among councillors and management so they connived an illegal meeting to pass a resolution to replace the acting town clerk Mrs Evangelista Machona with town engineer David Duma," said the source.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said 33 councillors were picked up for allegedly violating the Urban Council's Act.

"I can confirm that we have picked up 33 councillors following a report by Harare provincial development coordinator Mr Tafadzwa Muguti that they were convening a meeting to suspend the town clerk and replacing him with a suspended official with pending cases, in violation of the Urban Councils Act.

"The 33 are currently undergoing a screening exercise to see those who should be charged," he said.

The arrest comes barely a month after security officers in plain clothes also swooped on Harare Town House and rounded up 21 councillors attending a full council meeting, in a dramatic search for the deputy Mayor Luckson Mukunguma who had fled through the back door.

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