Zacc arrests Bikita RDC executives
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) arrested six Bikita Rural District Council executives last Friday who benefitted from a controversial vehicle scheme worth US$191 000 facilitated by the local authority’s chief executive officer Peter Chibi without the approval of the parent ministry.
Arnold Mutuke (Engineer), Never Mavhuna (Finance), Nomatter Gezera (Administrator) Philemon Madara (Internal Auditor), Bonface Nerumedzo (Housing and Planning) and Morgan Madhura (Social Services) spent Friday night in police custody at Bikita Police Station and briefly appeared before Bikita magistrate Takawira Mugabe on Saturday who released them and said the matter will proceed by way of summons.
The executives, who received Toyota GD6 vehicles from a loan facilitated by Chibhi via African Century Limited on behalf of council.
The vehicles were registered in the names of the executives. Their lawyer, Philip Shumba of Mutendi, Mudisi and Shumba, argued that his clients are just beneficiaries of the scheme which was negotiated by council.
He said Zacc should arrest his clients after gathering evidence showing their direct involvement in the deal. Chibhi was arrested earlier this year and is facing abuse of office charges after breaching the Public Finance Management Act for borrowing the loan without government approval and his trial is still continuing.
The loan which bought the vehicles from Faramatsi in Harare is attracting interest of US$30 000.
Council chairperson Benjamin Masakadza told The NewsHawks that council offices have become a playground for Zacc officials as they continue to search for information regarding the vehicle issues.
He said all the vehicles involved in the case are parked at the council premises after Zacc confiscated the keys.
He however added that Chibhi, who is facing criminal charges, continued reporting for work and is currently on a 14-day leave.
“The investigations are ongoing and people are being interviewed regularly and the investigators promised to come back again. Administrator Nomatter Gezera is acting CEO after Chibhi went to a short leave. We did not suspend him as council from the day he was arrested, he continued coming to work and his case is still before the courts”.
Bikita Residents and Ratepayers’ Association (BIRRA) spokesperson Mark Mutengani said residents are confident that the money used to buy the vehicles will be recovered so that it is used to push the service delivery agenda. He, however, added that they are not happy about Chibhi who is still reporting for duty while going to court at the same time.
“We hope that our money for service delivery will be recovered after the intervention of Zacc. As residents, we are not happy to see Chibhi, who is facing abuse of office charges, continuing to report for duty. Council should have suspended him to pave way for investigations. His presence will affect investigations as well as intimidate witnesses,” said Mutengani.