Mutare City fathers are banking on the involvement of the Parliamentary Committee on public sector financial affairs, to recover US$330 000 lost in a botched water tender deal.
Mutare City Council had lost hope of recovering funds advanced to Shitazburg Enterprises for the Dangamvura water project.
The contracted company has not delivered any material since the inception of the project in 2009.
Mutare mayor, councilor Blessing Tandi recently revealed council had written off the debt following several unsuccessful attempts to recover funds paid to Shitazburg Enterprises until the committee initiated an inquiry on the matter.
‘The committee is breathing fire over this matter. We were summoned to appear before the committee to give evidence and they are not happy over the matter,” said Tandi.
Council’s attempts to recover the money have hit a brick wall, including a Magistrate Court ruling in favor of council, as the shelf company director’s whereabouts have not been established, revealed the Mayor.
He said the company had no offices while the Director of the firm, Anderson Mwashita has even threatened to sue former Town Clerk, the late Joshua Mwaligwa for comments in an article published in local media.
“We are happy that the Parliament is now involved in the matter so much that they are suggesting that we exhaust all avenues to recover this money. We have even engaged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) in this matter,” said Tandi.
In 2009, council received a loan from the Ministry of Finance to finance water infrastructure (upgrade of the Dangamvura project) and sewer systems in high density areas.
Despite pronouncing an end to water challenges within a year, by the end of 2010 council had not replaced old and smaller pipes with larger ones, once again failing to meet its own targets.
In the same year council paid US$330 000 as deposit, in a fraudulent tender deal awarded to Shitazburg Enterprises, a company with no experience in major water infrastructure development.
Councilor Exavia Upare, who chaired the Procurement Committee, allegedly pocketed a US$20 000 bribe from Shitazburg Enterprises director.
While he denied allegations of bribery to swing the US$660 000 tender, Upare admitted receiving US$20 000 from Shitazburg, which he claimed had nothing to do with the city council business, despite not revealing the nature of business.
In 2011, Upare was arrested and brought before Mutare Magistrate Court facing bribery charges arising from the tender issue, before he was later fired by the then Zimbabwe’s Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo.