BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
OVER $70 000 disappeared without a trace five years ago from coffers of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) after the local authority paid for the repair of a grader that never was.
The revelations are contained in a confidential 2014 investigation report, a copy of which is in Southern Eye’s possession, which was commissioned by then Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere. Recently, councillors and officials at the MDC-run council have been at each other’s throat over allegations of
corruption, leaving some residents upping calls for the appointment of a commission to run the affairs of the local authority.
Should the calls get a buy-in from central government, the BCC will have its affairs run by an unelected commission for the first time since it was established
125 years ago.
The city has been lauded as one of the best run local authorities.
According to the report, produced by a seven-member probe team, BCC paid the money in advance as per demand of the named contractor, but the contractor is said
to have failed to repair the grader in question.
“Council decided to rehabilitate the above dozer in 06/04/2014 at a cost of $70 870 through tender [recorded as $73 000 in other papers]. The contract was
awarded to (name withheld) and a full tender sum of $73 000 was paid in advance to the contractor,” the report read.
It added: “Allegations were that the dozer was never rehabilitated and never functioned despite the full payment of the rehabilitation cost. Interviews on the
issue were conducted with the director, Engineering Services [Simela Dube], who confirmed that the bulldozer was in good working condition and was at the dumb
The probe team, according to the report, then discovered, after conducting a series of investigations, that the dozer in question had never been repaired as
suggested. It was revealed, in the report, that the dozer had remained idle in the council’s workshop.
“However, the team conducted its own independent assessment, established and confirmed that the dozer was never rehabilitated and was still in the workshop.
“The mayor and acting town clerk were part of the visit to the workshop and had a first-hand appreciation of the misdemeanour,” the report added.
The investigators also took issue with BCC’s failure to deal with the engineering services director who they accused of negligence and dereliction of duty.
“Indications are that there was a previous council investigation on the issue and findings were presented to full council, with a recommendation that the
director, engineering services, be brought before a disciplinary committee. “A resolution was passed to this effect in August 2015, but to date, it has not
“. . . There was unrepentant deceit on the part of the director for engineering services on the operational status and whereabouts of the bulldozer,” the
report further read.