CHINHOYI — The recent council decision to hire a private security company to carry out cash-in-transit and guard duties at critical installations such as the water treatment plant has raised eyebrows amid suspicion of corruption by senior officials and councillors.
REPORT BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
In separate interviews with NewsDay yesterday, councillors who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals attacked a coterie of councillors sitting in the procurement board and some senior officials for jumping onto the gravy train to line their pockets through kickbacks from bidders.
A councillor who refused to be named said: “It defies logic that we hire a service which we have an entire department being paid to undertake. Why do we have 60-plus municipal officers? What work are they doing? Council has a bloated workforce and is failing to pay workers yet we have the luxury to waste funds running into several thousands of dollars hiring out a service. Where would it get money to pay for the service? This whole deal is fishy, I smell a rat.”
Mayor Chipo Mlotshwa on Monday acknowledged council was broke.
According to minutes of a recent finance committee meeting in which the issue was tabled, Councillor Divies Zinduru wanted clarity on what had prompted council to hire security services when, in fact, it had its own municipal police.
Zinduru said this exposed the municipal police’s incompetence and suggested beefing-up the department to required levels than outsource the service as this would be costly to council.
Acting town clerk Webster Tembo reportedly conceded the security arm was facing a myriad challenges, amid reports the entire 60 man-strong municipal police force relied on two unreliable “rusty” guns.
Tembo said there was need to buttress security at Mpata water/sewer plant where two transformers were recently installed and told councilors the Zimbabwe Republic Police was being paid a further $6 000 for guarding the plants.
Councillor Simeon Gotami demanded to know where the money to pay for the security services would come from considering council’s dire financial position.
Acting finance director Zephaniah Chirarwe advised that if a company was taken on board, the department would “make resources available to finance the project”.