HomeLocal NewsHarare starts hearings on car sales scam

Harare starts hearings on car sales scam

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DISCIPLINARY hearings against the 27 Harare City Council employees accused of clandestinely authorising illegal car sales garages to operate in the city started on Thursday with the local authority’s chief suspect Ebben Francisco, giving evidence.

Report by Moses Matenga

Francisco, who heads the city’s evaluation and estates division, was suspended last month alongside his 26 subordinates over allegations of taking bribes from illegal operators.

The suspensions came after Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ordered council to demolish all illegal car sales garages in the city, arguing his probe team had established that only one out of about 200 garages was operating legally.

The disciplinary committee is led by council’s industrial relations manager Onias Rusike and Gift Jumburu while Harare lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu represented the workers.

Charges against Francisco are that he demanded and received a $3 000 bribe from Near Go Investments and several other unauthorised car dealers as protection fees.

However, Bhamu accused council of “buying” witnesses to testify against his client and questioned why two of the alleged illegal car sales were being allowed to operate without the requisite documentation.

Meanwhile, the suspension of the department’s entire taskforce has reportedly affected council operations as no evaluation of properties has been done since December 5 last year.

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