KWEKWE — Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa is under fire from Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo for stopping a meeting between councillors and a three-member special audit committee dispatched to investigate allegations of fraud and mismanagement.
Report by Blessed Mhlanga Staff Reporter
The committee has recommended that Chombo should investigate and take appropriate action against Tobaiwa for violating sections of the Urban Councils Act.
“Ministry should investigate the reason why the mayor denied audit team the opportunity to interview the Audit, Finance and Works Committee.
“Relevant statutes should be invoked to stop such behaviour from senior council officials who are supposed to lead by example,” reads part of recommendations by the audit team to Chombo.
On August 6 the Audit Committee summoned councillors to appear before it, but Tobaiwa barred them, alleging that their letter of reference was not copied to him, but to the town clerk and, therefore, the team could not speak to councillors.
“Their terms of reference did not include speaking to councillors, but to management. I, therefore, stopped them from interviewing any of the councillors until I got a letter from Chombo,” said Tobaiwa.
However, the audit report alleged Tobaiwa did not trust some of his councillors and feared they could backbite him.
The MDC-T led council is heavily divided along factional lines.
“He advised us that he was uncomfortable with the arrangement to have us interview the councillors because they would give us information which would be used against him and other council members . . . in violation of Urban Council Act (29:15) Section 306-2. He turned away all committee members,” reads the report.
Tobaiwa was painted as an ignorant man who had the habit of misleading council and had little or no appreciation of the operations of audit.
“Mayor has no understanding of operations of the audit team and his actions affected the outcome of the report since members could have provided audit with reliable, relevant and accurate evidence,” reads the report.