BY Harriet Chikandiwa
Former Zvimba Rural District Council (ZRDC) chief executive Peter Hlohla and official Tapiwa Onismo Nhemwa appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court charged with criminal abuse of office.
Hlohla (41) and Nhemwa (33) were granted $500 bail each by magistrate Francis Mapfumo, who remanded them to November 12, pending trial.
As part of their bail conditions, they were ordered not to interfere with witnesses, to surrender their passports to the clerk of court and to report twice to CID Chinhoyi.
Allegations are that in 2017, Hlohla and Nhemwa entered into three separate hiring contracts with Joystone Civil Engineering for motorised grader excavators and water browsers without going to tender.
It is alleged that they went on to pay Joystone $57 716 by splitting invoices of the same contract of Murombedzi road infill and routine maintenance.
The State also alleges that the pair awarded contracts to Resource Steel Company without a council resolution.
Hlohla is facing another separate charge that on April 11, 2016, he allocated 23 residential stands at discounts of up to 70%, thereby prejudicing the council of $168 405.
To cover up for the offence, Hlohla backdated offer letters purporting that the stands were allocated prior to 2015.
It is also the State’s case that in February 2017, Hlohla showed favour to his secretary Kanjanda Nosta and facilitated the processing of a title deed of stand number 513 Sandton by writing a recommendation letter to the Local Government ministry knowing that there had been no application letter from the beneficiary.
Hlohla is also accused of authorising the payment of $17 000 for the purchase of bulls despite knowing that the purchase was above the stipulated tender limit of $10 000. He is also accused of allocating 180 litres of diesel to an internal auditor identified as Runanga for them to attend his wedding anniversary in Kariba.
The ex-Zvimba boss is also facing other counts of authorising demolitions of residential stands and also of flouting tender procedures.