Kwekwe City Council has finally suspended, without benefits, its embattled city treasurer, Albert Zingwe, who stands accused of misconduct, fraud and theft cases.
Town clerk Emmanuel Musara served Zingwe with the suspension letter just a few hours before the official lighting of the city’s Christmas lights on Tuesday night.
Council has preferred nine charges against Zingwe, who was initially sent on forced leave in July to facilitate investigations into the alleged cases of misconduct, which centre around fraud and theft.
Zingwe is accused of making payments for goods which were not delivered to the local authority and contravening council financial regulations and audit recommendations.
“You unprocedurally, fraudulently and with intention to steal, paid $6 000 to Field Care Supplies on March 9, for 2 000 ballasts (street lights) which were not delivered to council. You insisted on payment being effected without the Assistant Director’s verification and against the Acting Town Clerk’s advice,” reads part of the suspension letter.
On the topical issue of water treatment chemicals, Zingwe is accused of using his position to grab powers from the buying department, then originating invoices from his office before making cash payments against the best interests of the local authority.
“You irregularly took over the buying functions or interfered with the procurement of water chemicals and went ahead to unprocedurally make purchases from CNC and Rainpoints Enterprises. The said purchases were not to the best advantage of council resulting in the council suffering financial prejudice.
“You then irregularly and unprocedurally effected cash payments to suppliers without following council financial regulations and audit recommendations,” wrote Musara.
Zingwe also faces another charge of disobeying a direct order from the town clerk after he allegedly refused to take up a new post to which he had been reassigned. Musara had ordered Zingwe to assume the newly created post of public relations director, following his return to work from forced leave.
“You wilfully disobeyed a lawful order given by the Town Clerk to be assigned other duties whilst further investigations in your department were being undertaken,” said Musara.
A hearing into the matter was expected in council chambers yesterday evening where Zingwe was set to be represented by his lawyer Martin Makonese while it was not immediately clear who would comprise the disciplinary hearing committee for council.
Makonese said his client would strongly deny both the charges and suspension because they were malicious and of no substance.
“I can tell you that the suspension and charges will be challenged vigorously because there is absolutely no substance and merit in the matter which has been brought against my client,” said Makonese.