Zimbabwe: Vehicle Parking Scandal Rocks Chinhoyi

Chinhoyi Municipality is losing millions of dollars in potential revenue from a shady vehicle parking deal it entered into with a private company, it has emerged.

Although the obscure Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between council and Clyna Trading is set to come to an end this year, residents and councillors have repeatedly raised concern over the prudence of engaging the private player, amid reports of corruption involving parking marshals pocketing fees.

Clyna Trading, whose directors remain a mystery, is also allegedly fleecing the municipality by under-declaring collections or outright non-remittance of revenue.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com Sunday, Chinhoyi Residents Association (CRA) chairman, Clifford Hlupeko raised concern over the opaque parking management services deal.

"We have raised concerns many times. The last time was during the 2021 pre-budget formulation meeting, where we flagged the thin revenue remitted by Clyna Trading.

"I studied the MoU which looks good on paper, but lacks implementation to the letter and spirit of the provisions. There must be few individuals benefitting from the hazy contract," said Hlupeko.

He said even if the deal was ending, there was need for a forensic audit to weed out corrupt elements who might have benefitted from the five-year contract.

Newly-formed Combined Chinhoyi Residents Association (CCRA) interim chairman, Tendai Musonza weighed-in alleging underhand deals were prejudicing council of potential revenue.

"The deal must have been created as a looting vehicle, as council can realise more without Clyna. Its existence is shrouded in mystery.

"The issue is top on our list as residents have been demanding answers for quite some time now without getting responses. Council has not been forthcoming, management has been evasive on the issue."

With the emergence of Covid-19, the little revenue paid to council was further whittled as recent records gleaned by NewZimbabwe.com indicate in February 2021, Clyna Trading marshalls collected a paltry US$400 and surrendered half the amount to council.

The company still owed March and April remittances, raising further concerns over Clyna Trading's capacity to collect parking fees for onward transmission to the local authority.

The company's workforce, operating without a single vehicle, is reportedly demotivated as they are not getting their salaries on time while their working conditions are deplorable, a development that is spawning corruption among parking marshals.

According to minutes of a recent meeting, Finance Committee chairperson, councillor Voster Mashevedzanwa (Ward 11) noted the MoU had lots of grey areas, with councillor Innocent Mangwanya alleging the deal was shrouded in secrecy.

During the meeting held in council chambers, Finance director, Zephaniah Chirarwe assured councillors that the deal, allegedly under wraps, was on the managers' radar with a view to improve operational efficiency.

Chamber secretary, Abel Gotora sprang to the defence of top council managers, arguing councillors were poking their noses into the MoU, whose administration was the prerogative of the executive.

Reads the minutes, "The chamber secretary advised that the contract was available, but (he) wanted clarity if the councillors were now managing the contract... Chamber secretary advised separation of roles should be maintained."

Gotora's stern remarks followed persistence by Mashevedzanwa and Mangwanya to have the deal scrutunised.

According sources, the deal entailed council providing land on which Clyna Trading would spearhead construction of a shopping mall.

The parking management services company, which has been booted out in Karoi and Chitungwiza, was engaged by the previous Zanu PF-dominated council, then led by mayor Test Michaels.

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