Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza Association Cross Swords Over Funds Embezzlement

24 March 2021

Members of the St Mary's Home Industry Association in Chitungwiza are up in arms against their chairperson, Tobias Madzinga and treasurer, Kunashe Munjanja over alleged misuse of funds amounting to US$ 404 000, raised from the sale of close to 200 stands in Zengeza 1 since 2006, 263Chat has gathered.

The Government and the Chitungwiza Town Council allocated stands to the Association for development and regularization of their businesses some 15 years ago in the aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina since the municipality was resource-constrained to service the area itself.

Since then, there hasn't been meaningful progress in servicing the area except for the construction of a toilet, a well and dilapidated water trenches.

The area is devoid of electricity despite members having contributed and raised US$ 8000 for the installation.

According to sources within the Association, Madzinga has made numerous unilateral decisions such as the purchase of a concrete manhole at a cost of US$ 21 000 and the digging of trenches at the site to the tune of US$ 11 000.

Currently, the chairperson is alleged to have unilaterally re-pegged land initially meant for parking in a bid to create more stands.

Over the years, Madzinga and Munjanja are alleged to have repossessed stands belonging to some original members on "flimsy" grounds.

Efforts by some aggrieved members to seek explanation on how funds were handled over the years were thwarted as Madzinga is said to have dissolved all sub-committees assigned to pursue an audit.

Recently, the vice-chairperson, Moses Mazhande widely seen as a critic of Madzinga's leadership was hounded out of the executive, the source said.

The aggrieved members have since written to the Chitungwiza Municipality, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the relevant Ministry seeking intervention and inquest into the operations of the Association.

"We wrote letters to the Town Clerk dated 11 November 2020 and 02 December 2020 which letters have not been responded to, that is why we now seek your urgent assistance," reads part of the leaked letter.

"It must also be pointed out that over 50 percent of the stands have been sold and repossessed more than once and funds raised thereof remain unaccounted for.

"It must also be noted that the chairman and treasurer received funds in their personal Ecocash lines which funds never reached the Association. The two are unemployed but they recently bought a Jeep and the other a Honda Fit. We are aware that one of them is currently constructing state of the art houses in Mabvazuva. We humbly request that a lifestyle audit be carried out on them so as to ascertain their source of funds," further reads the letter.

Efforts to get hold of Madzinga were fruitless as his line was not reachable at the time of publishing.

"I'm not privy to that at the moment. You see, there are many pressing issues in St Mary's so I will need to really to understand further what their grievances are," Chitungwiza Town Clerk Evangelista Machona told 263Chat.

"Maybe if I were speaking with their file at hand I would be better positioned to respond. But over and above, we are planning to have all our markets designated and regularize them so that people can trade properly in all our four district areas including Sat Mary's," she added.

Meanwhile, the matter has been received by ZACC and a reference number; 001150 has been issued.

"Since they have the reference number, their case is being investigated by ZACC. I cannot comment any further if the matter is being investigated. I cannot tell you any details about an ongoing investigation," ZACC spokesperson, John Makamure said.

Chitungwiza town has hogged limelight in recent times over the prevalence of corrupt activities in the allocation and sale of stands by notorious land barons, a nuisance that has even captured President Emmerson Mnangagwa's attention.

He recently directed relevant authorities, that include ministries, Government departments and agencies to leave no stone unturned in the fight against this scourge.

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