Council police fleece employer

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Kadoma City Council could be losing thousands of dollars in revenue monthly to unscrupulous council police officers who are reportedly pocketing fees collected from vendors and market stallholders every day.

Market stallholders who refused to be named told NewsDay municipal police officers, who now operate like a “vigilante group”, were collecting money on a daily basis from market stalls as rental fees, but were not issuing them with receipts.

“The officers collect $3 daily from each vendor here, but they don’t issue out receipts and if you fail to pay they will confiscate your wares. (But) that money is not going to council,” said a vendor who refused to be named.

The scandal was unearthed when city treasurer Faustine Zhou sent her officials with receipt books to collect rentals at a fruit and vegetable market in town recently. The vendors refused to pay saying they had already paid the money to council police earlier in the day.

“We were then forced to pay for the second time despite the fact that we had paid money to municipal police. No action was taken by council to try and establish what was happening,” said another frustrated vendor.

In 2007, then Kadoma executive mayor Fani Phiri, fired five municipal police officers over allegations of illegally collecting and pocketing council money.

Mayor Peter Matambo confirmed reports of municipal police pocketing revenue intended for council coffers had reached his office, but said there was nothing they could do since there was no evidence to back the claims.

“We have those reports and we are worried that we could be losing thousands of dollars to our employees. It is, however, unfortunate that those who report are not willing to go on record or to follow up with the cases, so there is nothing we can do,” Matambo said.

The vendors told NewsDay some of the municipal police were known Zanu PF supporters employed during the time Zanu PF-dominated council affairs and could victimise those reporting the alleged scandal.

“Top management and other councillors are afraid of them. They are backed by powerful figures in Zanu PF and nobody can fire them,” said another vendor who declined to be named.

Ward Two councillor Michael Gore confirmed some council employees had become untouchable and declared they did not submit to an MDC-T led council.