THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has called for a probe on the conduct of the local authority’s Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, who stands accused of attempting to subvert council procedures in the allocation of stands in the city.
By Nkululeko Sibanda
The town clerk, it is alleged, did this so as to curry for favours from one of the companies that had applied for housing stands from the local authority. The council is also investigating councillors Collet Ndlovu and James Sithole after Dube said they had interest in the allocation of stands.
Dube, a former town clerk at the Victoria Falls town council, was appointed Bulawayo Town Clerk in 2016, replacing Middleton Nyoni, who passed on in 2015.
The call for a probe follows accusations and counter-accusations between the town clerk and BCC councillors on the involvement of both parties in alleged undue influence on the council in the allocation of stands for housing projects.
The allegations are contained in a March confidential council report titled “Alleged corruption on application by Hawkflight, TCL International, TCL treasure Consultants, and Stelix Partnership with council on development of housing stands.”
According to confidential council minutes, a copy which the Zimbabwe Independent saw, Dube accused Sithole and Dube of trying to influence him to support the applicants and suggested they should recuse themselves from a Town Lands and Planning Committee meeting. The councillors, however, said Dube was conflicted and had sought support to control a mine at a council farm while also canvassing for shareholding at one of the property development companies seeking land.
Read the recommendations in part: “It was recommended thus considerations on this matter be deferred to allow for investigations to take place and establish the validity or lack-of of the allegations or accusations after which a report would be submitted to council.”
It was further resolved that the probe would also cover the said companies as their feedback would be crucial in council arriving at the fuller picture of what had happened.
The council resolved “that the council’s Internal Audit Section be authorised to interview affected companies councillors C Ndlovu and J Sithole and the Town Clerk and thereafter submit a report to the Special Audit Committee.”
The Town Clerk had sought the exclusion of Ndlovu and Sithole from deliberations saying they were interested parties prompting the councillors to hit back.
“The Town Clerk further advised that councillors Collet Ndhlovu and James Sithole had shown some direct interest on the above-mentioned matter as they had approached him on several occasions trying to influence him to support these applicants and in view of this, there was need for them to recuse themselves from the meeting. He said their involvement at the committee had rendered the item to be improperly (placed) before council,” the minutes read.
However, the minutes reveal Ndlovu in turn accused Dube of being an interested party.
“Councilor (Collet) Ndlovu felt that the matter should not be discussed in their presence now that they were required to recuse themselves. He said that there was need to first discuss the issue of (vested) interest.
“His interest was in terms of service delivery. He mentioned that when he raised the issue of lack of delivery on stands at a meeting, it was the Town Clerk who had approached him about his (Dube’s) application for a mine,” reads part of the confidential minutes.
“He was aware that the Town Clerk had approached one of the companies (which applied for stands from council) to get shares and had subsequently demanded that his in-law be his proxy as director of the said company. Discussion ensued and the Town Clerk advised that issues brought to the Council in Committee (closed door meetings) were meant for the management to advise councillors so that appropriate decisions were made.”