Chipinge chairman nails town secretary

Ellen Mlambo

CHIPINGE – Chipinge Town Council chairman Zivanai Nyakuchena nailed Town Secretary Susan Dube when he gave evidence in a court case of alleged corruption against the latter on Monday.

Nyakuchena told Resident Magistrate Frenklin Mkwananzi that Dube’s action to allocate a low-density residential stand under a staff housing scheme to Johnson Mhlanga, a trainee was not only unprocedural but there was no due diligence done.

He said Dube’s act did not only constitute an offense but she acted against council policy.

He told the court that the matter where Mhlanga was given a 1 000 square metre stand was never placed before the Housing Committee and neither was it deliberated in council. He insisted that her actions were not above board and there was therefore need for correctional measures and disciplinary action.

Nyakuchena said that Dube acted in contravention of Chipinge Town Council Housing Policy and Procedure Manual of 2019 where permanent employees are the ones who are entitled to benefit from the scheme

Dube was arrested by the Police in February this year and she is currently barred from visiting council offices after paying RTGS$20 000 bail.

Dube will also appear before an internal council hearing as soon as Covid-19 Lockdown rules are lifted to answer to the same case.

Nyakuchena said Dube was required to get the views of the trainee’s head of department who is also the housing director before signing for the stand but she didn’t.

“Mhlanga made an application to the town secretary who authorised the application. From the policy side, Dube should have sought the head of Department’s view on the application. That head of department’s view is missing from the application,” said Nyakuchena.

Nyakuchena said the unlawfulness of the town secretary emanates from the acts of omission and commission.

“I cannot conclusively say she is corrupt, …she did not go along with our policy. Two issues were not clear; the application was supposed to have some consideration from the HOD and a recommendation by the full council. On the act of commission, I would refer to the act by the town secretary of authorising the application instead of referring to the HOD. The allocation is supposed to be done after due diligence by all council HODs. In this case the letter was referred to other departments after authorisation was already done,” he added.

The Acting Administration and Human Resources Officer Manyuke Chiraerai concurred that the student was not entitled to benefit from the stand. He however, said his boss did not act in a criminal way.

Susan Dube’s lawyer Langton Mhungu of Mhungu and Associates said Article 30, roman numeral 12 of the Conditions of Service stipulates that all council employees are entitled to staff quota benefits.

“It further outlines the 40 percent staff quota benefits to all employees. Council shall provide benefits to designated officers and employees and if one goes by this article 30, every employee is entitled to staff quota benefits including the 40 percent stand prize. It does not expressly disqualify anyone. The allocation of the stand was done after a consideration by the council and the offer was made on February 8, 2020,” said Mhungu.

Dube is facing a second count in which she is jointly charged together with water and waste superintendent, Jeffrey Mwakachieyi for allegedly taking council pipes and using them on her farm without either paying for them or getting authority.

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