A COMMITTEE hearing into the suspension of Harare town clerk Nomutsa Chideya later this month has the potential to expose Sekesai Makwavarara’s pr
ofligacy and incompetence. It could also prove the Achilles heel for the former MDC deputy mayoress turned Zanu PF’s fair lady at Town House, the Zimbabwe Independent learnt this week.
The hearing, which was supposed to be held on July 18, was postponed after the council failed to compile an outline of its case alongside minutes and documents to buttress the charges.
Among the documents to be presented at the hearing is a copy of an audit report done by the audit manager of the city council on March 23 which exposes alleged misuse of council vehicles and labour by Makwavarara at her Raffingora farm on more than four occasions.
According to the audit report, a lorry, registration number AAE 5076, was used to ferry 400 bags of fertiliser to Makwavarara’s farm in Raffingora on four occasions during working hours, at an estimated cost of $30 million to council at the time.
Another vehicle, registration number 586-270V, was used to empty a septic tank on two occasions estimated to have cost council another $30 million.
Another audit report of February 23 shows that Makwavarara spent $175 million purchasing “consumables and alcohol” meant for her official mansion in Gunhill between June last year and February this year. The report says there was no evidence that Makwavarara was entitled to such expenditure.
It also shows that of the $175 million, $110 million was spent in less than five days. On January 6, using cheque number 72123, Makwavarara bought groceries worth $53 381 400 and on January 10 she spent $57 188 600 using cheque number 72131.
Chideya’s lawyer, Sternford Moyo of Scanlen and Holderness, said the inquiry team failed to prepare a charge sheet, as there was no outline of the council’s case when the hearing was supposed to begin.
Moyo has highlighted a number of irregularities that need to be resolved before the hearing begins.
The irregularities include the legality of the inquiry team appointed by the Minister of Local Government, Ignatious Chombo.
He alleges that Chombo acted outside his mandate by appointing an inquiry committee to investigate a council employee.
“Clearly, in terms of the Urban Councils Act, for the committee to have powers of this nature, it ought to be a committee appointed by the council and not by the minister,” said Moyo.
“The minister can appoint a committee to investigate council. He cannot appoint a committee to investigate employees of the council,” Moyo said.
He also stressed that there should be resolution and evidence that council appointed the inquiry body.
Moyo has requested that the committee provides him with a raft of documents and council minutes when the hearing begins on August 21. The documents include:
* Expenses incurred by Cosmos Shitto, Makwavarara’s spouse from 2003 to date;
* The repairs done to Mawavarara’s Highlands home and proof that Makwavarara was actual resident at the house prior to purchasing it;
* The withdrawal of fuel from council depot by Shitto;
* The proposed purchase of curtains for the mayoral mansion for $35 billion;
* Expenses debited to council by Makwavarara;
* The use of Wild Geese as temporary or overnight accommodation by Makwavarara;
* The installation of a satellite dish at the mayoral mansion together with authorisation for such installation and;
* The heads of departments on suspension.