HARARE City Council yesterday said it had engaged police to investigate 27 of its workers suspended on Thursday for allegedly clandestinely issuing licences to unregistered motor car dealers.
BY MOSES MATENGA STAFF REPORTER
Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi told journalists the city was determined to get to the bottom of the alleged scam and have the culprits prosecuted.
All the 27 suspended employees worked in the city’s Valuation and Estates Division.
“As part of the crackdown of illegal activities including car sales, a number of irregularities have come to light. We have suspended operations with immediate effect and all who have given money to anyone from the division should come forward,” said Gwindi. “We want to establish how big the ring is and who else was involved. We will address this because it’s so deep in the division and outside. I have to make it clear that we will leave no stone unturned and whoever is caught in the process will be held accountable.”
Gwindi said the alleged scam had deprived the local authority of at least two-thirds of its potential revenue.
“Even the behaviour of our own municipal police is questionable. Some car sales were hit more brutally than the others. Other car dealers were tipped of the crackdown and removed their cars,” he said.
The suspensions came as the local authority has intensified demolition of illegal car sales garages that had sprouted in most parts of the capital city, amid reports that only one out of the estimated 200 car sales was licensed.
Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last month ordered council to publish all illegal car sales and garages in Harare by December 20. He also ordered that council should demolish them by month-end.
His directive followed recommendations by a probe team led by Ellen Chivaviro which indicated that out of the 200 car sales operating in the capital city, only 47 have lease agreements while three met town planning regulations. Only one was in full compliance with the licensing requirements.