Six council officials nabbed over $63 000

Six top Nyaminyami Rural District Council officials have been arrested on charges of criminal abuse of office involving $63 000 of council funds.

By Nhau Mangirazi

The six, who have been languishing in custody since their arrest in Kariba last Friday, were on Wednesday granted $500 bail each by a Karoi magistrate who remanded them to October 16.

They include chief executive, Tsanangurayi Chirau (47) and finance executive Raison Kazemba (46), who are being jointly charged with four others.

When they initially appeared for remand on Saturday, the State opposed bail, claiming they were a flight risk since they were facing serious charges.

The investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Clemency Mushawi, told the court that the accused might interfere with key witnesses who leaked how they abused community funds since 2013, among other allegations.

One of the witnesses was allegedly summoned for a disciplinary hearing after tipping off the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission about the abuse, the court heard.

The State alleges that on December 14 last year, Chirau and Kazemba secured a grader from a contractor without a council resolution.

Kazemba allegedly did not raise supporting documents as per procedure, resulting in council suffering a potential prejudice of $13 064.

Chirau and Kazemba are accused of transferring funds from council cash books between 2013 to 2015 without supporting documents, again potentially prejudicing the local authority of $19 930.

In another charge, Chirau, Kazemba and a colleague in March this year, also made payment vouchers for $32 118 without supporting documents.

The proceeds were from Campfire, and should have been used in community projects.

Chirau, Kazemba, along with Mafios Charumani and Karikoga Matashu allegedly also abused another $500 belonging to a Campfire project.

Kazemba also withdrew from the Campfire account $825 without council authority in October last year, the State alleges.

Chirau and Kazemba were ordered to report twice a day at the nearest police station, not to visit their work place as well as to not interfere with State witnesses.

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