Mutare City Council has suspended its senior engineer over corruption bringing to three the number of senior officers suspended over a botched water pipes deal that saw council losing $330 000 to a briefcase company.
Engineer John Maugara of the Department of Engineering was on Tuesday served with a letter of suspension for his alleged role in misinforming council about the company that fleeced the local authority of thousands of dollars.
The local authority reportedly lost $330 000 to Shitazburg Enterprises (Private) Limited last year after the firm failed to supply and fix water pipes that could have helped alleviate water woes in the eastern border city.
His suspension letter signed by town clerk Obert Muzawazi reads in part: “Following investigations into the non-delivery of water and fittings by Shitazburg Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, it emerged that you actively participated in misleading and misinforming council about the company’s image and capacity to honour the contract it entered with council.”
Council claimed that Maugara, James Makumbe (council buyer) and Regis Dapi (committee officer) were part of the fact-finding team sent by the local authority to gather information on Shitazburg.
Upon return they allegedly provided council with wrong information that was meant to induce the local authority to award the briefcase firm the tender.
Makumbe and Dapi were suspended last week.
In an interview, Muzawazi said the suspensions were meant to “clean up” council of all corrupt officials.
“This is part of a council exercise to weed out corruption. We are not going to stop at anything and everyone who benefited from this deal is going to be charged. The disciplinary hearing of these three will be held soon and if they are found guilty they will be dealt with accordingly,” Muzawazi said.
The water pipes deal has also sucked in MDC-T councillor Exavia Upare who was suspended by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo over his alleged involvement in the matter as chairperson of the procurement committee.
Upare allegedly received $20 000 as a bribe from Shitazburg for awarding it thetender.
However, he has since been cleared of corruption charges by a Mutare magistrate.