Residents voice anger against Chi-town looting

Chitungwiza residents have joined workers in voicing anger against the six-member government-appointed resuscitation team accused of looting the local authority.

The team is allegedly claiming hefty allowances at the expense of service delivery.

Residents association chairman Arthur Taderera yesterday accused Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo of appointing his henchmen to plunder the local authority.

To us its a lot of money because Chitungwiza is a dormitory town with poor people and for someone to earn $16 000 is an insult, said Taderera.

We are afraid because we now think minister Chombo is sending sharks to eat small fish. We say if people are appointed to help, they should not loot.

The residents outrage follows public admission by team leader and acting town clerk Fungai Mbetsa that he was paid monthly allowances of up to $16 000, including paying of hotel accommodation bills.

The Manicaland provincial administrator admitted he claims $75 per hour for his services in addition to $140 a day for hotel accommodation.

He also stated that he was getting 100 litres of fuel per week, $100 telephone allowance per week, $20 daily for lunch and an undisclosed figure as entertainment allowance. On average, Mbetsa is paid $12 000 a month and a further $4 000 for hotel charges, while other members of his team get about $10 000.

This is despite the fact that council employees have not been paid their February salaries. Chitungwiza has also failed to pay its $8 million water debt to Harare City Council.

Mbetsa yesterday said: If it was an audit firm doing similar work, the scope is considered to be broader and, therefore, attracts higher rates in professional fees.

The fees were fixed by the Minister of Local Government for a team of professionals who are not volunteers and have individual working experiences in senior positions of not less than 10 years.

The team was appointed in January following reports of alleged corruption by senior council officials and councillors.

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