HomePoliticsNorton chair splurges on phone bill as town burns

Norton chair splurges on phone bill as town burns

Conrad Dube

NORTON council chairperson Bybit Tsomondo has the luxury of spending $7 million a month on mobile phone calls despite the council being in dire financial straits.

ace=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Documents to hand show gross abuse of council funds and facilities by Tsomondo who has frustrated efforts to hold elections for chairperson, vice chairperson, or chairmen of committees.

She has been accused of implementing decisions without council approval. The elections were supposed to have been held in August according to the Urban Councils Act.

A memorandum written to members of the finance and development committee by chief executive Winslow Muyambi shows that council paid $7 057 107,67 for Tsomondo’s mobile phone bill for the month of July.

Tsomondo is entitled to a monthly mobile phone allowance of $300 000.

Muyambi said Tsomondo was allocated the cellphone for official use.

“Initially the maximum allowance for the council chairperson was fixed at $60 000 per month. This cellphone usage limit was reviewed upwards to $300 000 per month with effect from March,” according to Muyambi’s memo.

Muyambi said the delay in the council’s response to the increase in tariffs by Net*One caused the prejudice to Tsomondo in meeting the debt incurred as a result of the tariff increase.

The documents also show that Tsomondo claims an average of 730 litres of fuel per month valued at about $2 555 000 at $3 500 a litre. In May she allegedly claimed 918 litres, in June 871 litres, in July 786 litres and in August 656 litres.

The documents also show that Tsomondo was allocated house number 7, Fletcher Road in May this year for use during her annual tenure. She later bought the house for only $30 million contrary to a letter written by one S Madzinga of the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing, dated May 10.

The letter read: “Please be advised that it was agreed that the council chairperson be allocated a council house for a duration of her tenure as chairperson. Council should draw up a lease that ends at the next council election.”

The council ignored the recommendations of the director of housing and community services on land valuations.

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