Zimbabwe: Kariba Corruption Case, More Details Emerge

21 April 2021

Kariba Bureau — Kariba municipality officials are accused of fraudulently obtaining personal vehicle loans of US$181 484, paid off by council while an MDC Alliance councillor influenced the selection of her company to supply materials for the Kariba People's Market, details have emerged.

Town clerk Richard Kamhoti, finance director Saratiere Chitenhe and Councillor Tendai Mapondera (Ward 5-Mahombekombe) have since been picked up by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).

They are expected in court today.

Allegations against Kamhoti and Chitenhe are that on March 6, 2013 council made resolution number C/49/13 authorising the purchase of the pair's vehicles for not more than US$150 000.

However, the following day, the two allegedly convened a Procurement Board Committee meeting which came up with Procurement Board Committee resolution C/50/13 allowing them to secure loans from a financial institution.

The financing institution would then approve the car dealer where the vehicle would be purchased.

Then mayor, Nicholas Hwindiri wrote a letter on behalf of Kariba Municipality to ZB Bank head office guaranteeing repayment of the loans to purchase the vehicles citing the council and procurement committee resolutions.

The two allegedly went to ZB Bank and negotiated a finance lease to acquire two Toyota Fortuner vehicles and they directed Kariba Municipality to finance the lease on their behalf.

Kariba Municipality would deposit US$3024,75 into their personal accounts every month from August 31, 2013 to December 31, 2015 and the bank would automatically deduct the money.

The Toyota Fortuner vehicles were registered in Chitenhe and Kamhoti's names.

In the process the two effectively increased their salaries as the money was not deducted from their earnings.

MDCA Councillor Mapondera together with Gift Chitehwe are directors at Heirpaw Investments which got a contract -MOK/KPM/02/2020 -to supply steel and roofing sheets for the construction of the Kariba People's Market.

Ironically, Cllr Mapondera is chairperson of council's Environmental Management and Works Committee which receives reports from the Municipality's engineering department.

Several meetings in which the director of Engineering Services Ndumiso Nyaningwe reported on progress at the people's market being financed through Devolution Funds but Cllr Mapondera did not declare her interest in Heirpaw Investments.

Even when Heirpaw Investments failed to supply the required steel, the contract was not terminated in line with its provisions.

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