GOKWE residents have complained about abuse of funds by five MDC Alliance councillors who allegedly forced council management to sponsor a trip to Harare which cost $235 000.
The five councillors allegedly went to Harare to inspect vehicles which had already been bought by council.
Allegations are that the councillors pressured council to sponsor the Harare visit in order for them to make money through travel and subsistence allowances as the COVID-19 period had dried up any sources of making money.
Gokwe has five MDC Alliance councillors. These are Machinda Mtembedzi, Darlington Mudondo, Never Gwanzura, Tichaona Muhora and Charity Mungwani. It also has one Zanu-PF councilor Davis Taruvinga. It is alleged that the Zanu-PF councillor refused to participate and warned his colleagues not to travel, but they pressed on.
The five councillors are said to have unanimously approved their travel to Harare leaving Taruvinga on his own on the pretext that they were going to see the vehicles bought by Gokwe Town Council. However, the vehicles were already in transit to Gokwe.
For the first trip to Harare on October 6, the councillors, together with five council managers who included council administrator Alexander Nyandoro and acting town secretary Joseph Madhlokuwa were allocated $10 700 each. The 10 gobbled more than $107 000 of council funds.
After a week, the councillors embarked on another trip to Harare, this time with seven council officials to view the same vehicles. They spent more than $128 400.
“The councillors must diligently safeguard council funds. We therefore, feel it is a betrayal of trust when money for rates is misused like that. This must be investigated. We voted in MDC councillors thinking they will help us in accounting for financial leakages, but it seems they are thieves in MDC jackets,” a resident said.
” The Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] as read with Public Finance Management Regulations of 2011 states that councillors must deal with public resources in a transparent, accountable, efficient and effective manner. When these councillors fail to be transparent and accountable it means they are failing to do their duties and, therefore, we should replace them,” Joel Sibanda a resident said.
“We thought MDC Alliance councillors were smart and transparent, however, it is turning out that everyone is corrupt. A lot needs to be done to have a corrupt-free society. These councillors approved these trips so that they could enjoy allowances,” added Washington Ziumbwa.
Acting Gokwe Town Council secretary Joseph Mandhlokuwa confirmed the trips, but said council felt they should go and see the vehicle as the town fathers.
“The councillors felt that they should go and see the purchased vehicles to avoid a situation that once happened where an NP300 bakkie was bought, but was never delivered. I confirm they were given money for the trip after we provided them with transport,” Madhlokuwa said.
Earlier this year town secretary Melania Mandeya and finance director Joconia Nyoni were arrested and subsequently suspended pending council investigations over corruption. – NewsDay ■