LOCAL Government, Urban and Rural Development minister Ignatius Chombo has appointed another team to investigate suspended Gwanda mayor Lionel De Necker before releasing findings of a similar team he appointed in April.
Report by Nqobile Bhebhe Senior Reporter
De Necker was suspended in April for allegedly defying Chombo’s orders to appoint Priscilla Nkala as substantive chamber secretary for Gwanda despite her failing to meet the requirements of the local authority. He was investigated by a four-member team made up mainly of government officials and the cash-strapped council was forced to fund the investigation.
De Necker, who is from the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, was suspended without pay.
According to a letter written by Chombo dated October 29, a K Renzwa was appointed to lead the new team composed of five people.Chombo again ordered the local authority to meet all costs of the latest inquiry.
In May, the local authority refused to give the first team appointed by the minister $80 000 a week in allowances. The team was commuting daily from a Bulawayo hotel to Gwanda at the municipality’s expense.
In his letter, he mandated the team to establish the extent of De Necker’s interference with management matters and executive duties of the council, to establish facts surrounding the “deliberate defiance” of the Local Government Board’s decision on the appointment of the chamber secretary and the subsequent directive thereof by the minister.
De Necker yesterday said he was surprised by the appointment of the second team when the results of the initial probe were still pending.
“What’s interesting is that Chombo has set up a new team to investigate me, with the same terms of reference, but the results of the first inquiry are still outstanding,” he said.