A team has been set up by the Chitungwiza Municipality to investigate former mayor Darlington Nota over the alleged disappearance of council property such as bulldozers, front-end loaders, tipper trucks and excavators.
The local authority alleges the equipment was taken for repairs but was never returned.
It is said the new probe team was set up after realisation that the previous team was not properly constituted and was in the previous council that was under investigation.
Chitungwiza mayor Philemon Chipiyo yesterday confirmed a new probe team had been set up to investigate the disappearance of council heavy machinery and money and also that the probe would look at the council dealings with a company called Delatfin Investments.
“Yes, a team has been set up to investigate the previous council and its dealings with Delatfin Investments. But I cannot give you details now because I am attending a funeral in Mufakose and can only be able to give you the details upon my return,” Chipiyo said on Tuesday.
One of the councillors, Jacob Rukweza who is in the investigating team, confirmed a new team had been set up and had been given 30 days to investigate.
“Yes, I am one of the councillors who will be in the investigating team. We will be investigating possible abuse of office by the former mayor and council officials; a possible case of theft of council equipment by Delatfin Investments (the company contracted to do the repairs) in cahoots with council officials,” said Rukweza. “We are also investigating a possible case of fraud because we think money was embezzled under the pretext of paying Delatfin Investments.”
He said there was also a possible case of forgery because there were documents that were signed by people on behalf of others.
“Basically there is a clear case of corruption. At the moment we are not sure who was active in the corruption, but we are looking at the former executive mayor, Nota, former councillors and Delatfin directors. Those are the three we will investigate and come up with recommendations in 30 days.
“We have a clear instruction to report our findings to the (police) Commercial Crimes Unit as a way of opening a case on the allegations.” One of the councillors Tichaona Chapfika said the investigation was a waste of resources as the people who were involved in the scandal were known.
“A new committee has been set up, but it is just a waste of resources because the people are known already. The last committee handled the case and came up with good recommendations that have not been followed. What we hear now is that there should be another team to do the investigations again. It’s a waste of ratepayers’ money,” Chapfika said.
Some council officials said when council tried to reclaim their equipment from Delatfin, the company argued it was owed money by the council but records indicated they were paid.