THE Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has urged local authorities not to reinstate people who are under investigation for corruption and criminal cases, as this gives them the opportunity to cover their tracks.
Permanent secretary Mr Zvinechimwe Churu issued a statement yesterday saying the ministry was concerned with councillors and senior managers at local authorities who are under investigation and return to work when they make bail.
“The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has noted with great concern that several councillors and senior management of local authorities across Zimbabwe have appeared before the Courts of Law for corruption and council land mismanagement crimes. All of them have since successfully applied for bail,” said Mr Churu.
He said when those under investigation are out on bail, they harass witnesses and cover their tracks by passing resolutions.
“Whilst the Court’s conditions of bail do not restrict them from going back to work and resuming their normal duties, the conditions indicate that there should not be interference with witnesses, intimidation thereof or subsequent suspension of any witness or potential witnesses, and going back to work and resuming normal duties infringes upon these bail conditions.
“The Ministry has further noted a growing trend across local authorities that councillors are passing resolutions and making structural changes that would ultimately influence ongoing investigations in favour of those facing criminal charges,” said Mr Churu.
He said all councillors and senior management who interfere with ongoing investigations shall meet the full wrath of the law.
Mr Churu appealed to local authorities not to reinstate those under investigations.
“The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works therefore appeals to all local authorities to exercise good corporate governance and ethical conduct by not reinstating individuals who are in the midst of on-going investigations and criminal cases,” said Mr Churu.
He said if not done this will undermine the Vision 2030 envisaged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa of zero corruption.
“We would like to underscore that attainment of Vision 2030 requires well administered local authorities whose focus is on excellence in service delivery.
This cannot be attained unless local authorities adopt high standards of governance with zero tolerance on corruption.
This is moreso considering that local authorities’ revenues are public funds derived from rate payers as well as from central government.
“Government therefore is duty bound to ensure that these resources are professionally administered in the public interest, while it continues to assist local authorities with funding and technical resources to improve service delivery.
“The Government of Zimbabwe, under the guidance and leadership of His Excellency, the President Cde. E.D. Mnangagwa, has made it part of our Vision 2030 to rid the country of corruption and local authorities shall not be spared. In fact, being public entities, greater compliance is expected of them,” said Mr Churu. 🔺