HARARE – Chitungwiza mayor Philip Mutoti and some councillors are under fire from residents after a damning internal audit report unearthed a massive residential stands scam by councillors and council staff.
The audit revealed that council staff and councillors “were identifying undeveloped stands and submitting such stands to council for verification and allocation by the department of Housing to themselves and connected beneficiaries.”
The identification of undeveloped stands and open spaces in Chitungwiza should be the prerogative of the Planning department.
The audit report shows that at one time, Mutoti allocated a residential stand to his four-year-old son, Nathan, at the expense of deserving candidates who were on the housing waiting list.
Efforts to reach Mutoti were futile, as he was not picking up his mobile phone.
Zanu PF councillor for Zengeza Ward 7, Charamba Mlambo, allegedly identified a total of 40 stands for allocation to himself, according to the audit report, which shows that a total of 99 stands were allocated to councillors and council staff.
The audit report said the councillors and council staff took advantage of the absence of a database for properties in Chitungwiza to engage in corrupt activities.
“Council does not have a database for all properties in Chitungwiza, resulting in councillors, staff and residents identifying stands and open spaces for allocation to themselves. General plans are not available from planning to know all stands available in Chitungwiza without going on the ground.
“Site plans are being drawn by outsiders for use by council, a development that has worsened the illegal allocation of stands,” read the audit report.
The audit report recommended that culprits fingered in the stands scam should be charged as per the council’s code of conduct.
The Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) and the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) on Thursday demanded urgent action against the alleged corruption at a joint press conference held in the dormitory town.
Chitrest and CCDZ have since written to Parliament and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission demanding action against the “corrupt” Chitungwiza councillors.
“We demand that Parliament appoints a commission of inquiry to investigate corruption at Chitungwiza Municipality and other corrupt local authorities. We demand that the councillors and council staff implicated in the corrupt identification and allocation of residential and commercial stands in Chitungwiza are brought to justice and held accountable for their actions,” said Chitrest and CCDZ in a joint statement.