KAROI The MDC-T-dominated Karoi Town Council is under siege from residents who are demanding an audit of the allocation and sale of stands, amid allegations councillors bought large pieces of land for a song.
Some councillors reportedly got as much as five commercial stands and paid as little as $12 for each. Residents also accused councillors of allocating themselves infill residential stands contrary to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombos order stopping the sale of open spaces in suburbs across the country.
Karoi Residents Association chairman Never Gasho accused the councillors of disregarding an April 2011 ministerial circular, which directed all local authorities to allow sitting councillors and administrators to buy residential stands at concessionary rates ranging between 30 and 40% depending on the period of service to council.
The waiver was not applicable to commercial stands. The sale of stands is the prime source of revenue for Karoi, therefore to have councillors looting stands at the expense of income-generation to fund service delivery is corruption at its worst and these people dont deserve to be councillors, said Gasho.
He alleged the scam involved 50 commercial and residential stands that were purchased for a measly $1 278. Councillors have corruptively allocated amongst themselves an unconstituted number of stands at prices even less than 5% of concessionary rates.
We have a comprehensive scheduled report on the number of stands as well as the names of councillors involved, said Gasho, adding they had reported the matter to the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais office and Chombo.
Some of the councillors fingered in the alleged scam include council chairperson Casmell Pemhiwa, deputy chairperson Modester Manjijiwa, councillors Abigail Usai, Nicholas Chigwende, David Mtambirwa, Sam Chiwaya, J Miriki, L Chiwaya, J Mbonga and E Masakure. But Pemhiwa denied the allegations saying the allocation of the stands to councillors was done above board.
He added government had dispatched two probe teams to Karoi since the MDC-T took office in 2008 but found the allegations to be false.