Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has suspended three Harare City (HCC) councillors over their alleged involvement in a $31 million tender scam.
Councillors Wilton Janjazi, Urayayi Mangwiro, and Paula Macharangwanda sat in the HCC procurement board which allegedly awarded a shadowy company, Energy Resources Africa Consortium (ARAC), a contract to rehabilitate Firle and Crowborough sewer treatment plants without going to tender in 2010. They are also accused of coming up with an unpriced bill of quantities for the rehabilitation works and neglecting to request the bidders to submit the required documents in violation of provisions of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15).
The three are already answering criminal abuse of office charges at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts. Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni described the suspension of the councillors as unbelievable.
“I certainly did not expect that. The councillors are already in court over the matter. I wouldn’t have acted on a matter that is sub judice,” Manyenyeni said.
Cases under judicial consideration are prohibited from public discussion elsewhere.
Kasukuwere declined to entertain the Daily News when contacted for comment. “Haaaa, you,” he exclaimed, before terminating the call. He did not answer subsequent calls on his mobile phone.
Since his appointment to the Local Government ministry in 2015, Kasukuwere has been accused of meddling in the affairs of local authorities around the country.
He has particularly been fighting running battles with Manyenyeni, whom he suspended in July last year ostensibly for disobeying a government directive to have council accounts audited, although it later turned out the audits had been carried out.
The two also clashed viciously over the appointment of former NMB bank CEO James Mushore as Harare town clerk, which Kasukuwere reversed.
Mushore, who has since been muscled out of Town House, approached the Labour Court seeking arbitration. HCC has since terminated Mushore’s contract despite the fact that the matter is still pending before the courts. Daily News