The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has cleared Bulawayo mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni and the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, of any wrongdoing regarding corruption allegations that were levelled against them.
Last year, residents questioned Clr Mguni’s leasing of a 3,5 hectare piece of land at Lower Rangemore under a 25-year lease at $165 per month rent. The local authority had received 24 objections where a total of 33 different issues were raised from residents regarding the lease.
In their objections, the residents among other concerns alleged that the mayor had used his privileged access of information to make an application for the said property. The residents claimed that this was an illegitimate deal that promoted clientelism, patronage and capture.
Mr Dube on the other hand was on the radar of the anti-graft body over his purchase a commercial stand, in Selborne Park as part of his proposed conditions of service. The Town Clerk already had another stand adjacent to the one he was being offered.
According to a letter from Zacc chairperson, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo, dated 5 October 2021, the anti-graft body noted that all the resolutions were done above board. Justice Matanda-Moyo revealed that the commission had held a rapid compliance spot check on the allocation of stands following the issues that were raised between 14 and 18 September last year.
“The findings were that the council resolved to offer a commercial stand for which the Town Clerk was expected to pay the full price. Furthermore the council was to purchase a new vehicle which the Town Clerk was to buy at 25 percent net book value.
With regards to the mayor’s 25 year lease for 3,5 hectare agriculture land at Lower Rangemore, the findings were that, the mayor is allowed to apply for urban agriculture land like any other Bulawayo resident and be subjected to same rentals which are prevailing in that area,” reads part of the letter.
The Zacc chairperson said the body will soon be carrying out a comprehensive compliance and systems review at the Bulawayo City Council, after which they will now be carrying quarterly monitoring and evaluation.
“During the review exercise an implementation matrix will be produced which will be shared by the team to management and councillors on their exit interview. Furthermore, signing of the implementation matrix will be held between the City of Bulawayo and Zacc, which will pave way for quarterly monitoring and evaluation of the matrix,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
Commenting on the outcome, Clr Mguni said it put to rest speculation that they had selfishly awarded themselves the land. He said the quarterly review would help them ensure that their systems were above board and help deter any council employee or councillor from involving themselves in any corruption.
“This vindicates us as a city and puts to rest some speculations that we are involved in corrupt practices and we engage in unprocedural selfish award of land to ourselves at the expense of service delivery.
To us it was also a good opportunity to have our systems benchmarked against best practices and we are glad that going forward we will now go to the next phase where the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission will work with our team to develop further tools for systems compliance review and the drawing up of an implementation matrix that we will co-manage its operation.
We want to thank Zacc for the opportunity that they have given us to develop our systems and to work on all our policies that require compliance with principles of accountable governance and prudent use of public resources,” said Clr Mguni. -Sunday News