Harare Residents Trust has claimed that there is unfolding scandal at the Harare town house amid indications millions of dollars might have been squandered in an unclear manner.
The trust said Cainos Chimombe, the Human Resources Director of the City of Harare has too many questions to answer.
“Firstly, between 2007- 2008, hundreds of council employees abandoned their jobs for more than two years, while they worked in South Africa, Botswana and other regional countries,” said the trust. ‘They left at the height of the hyper inflationary period. Yet in their absence, the City of Harare Human Capital Director did not proceed with terminating their jobs. Instead he reportedly worked their new salaries to the levels of a higher grade from their previous ones, and then invited a few to come back to receive their salaries and resume their work.”
The trust said then the floodgates were opened as the workers soon informed their colleagues to track back to Zimbabwe, and rejoined the City of Harare, to earn huge sums of money in back pay, bonuses and on a higher scale, absolutely for free, at the expense of ratepayers funds.
“It is estimated that the payments, which were made in 2010, resulted in the council being deprived of plus US$6 million. The councillors in the Human Resources Committee allegedly benefited from this situation as they were allegedly paid off to maintain their silence over the issue after they threatened to fire him over the costly blunder,” said the trust.
“During the reign of former Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi until July 2015, the Human Resources Director was responsible for handling the Executive payroll, and processed the payment of salaries and allowances for all council employees, and also processed the payment of allowances for Councillors on their several trips outside Zimbabwe and out of Harare. Then the Councillors would receive on average $250 per day whenever they went out for workshops, which spanned five days and more.”
The trust said when the vacancy for the Town Clerk arose, Chimombe, who wanted to replace Dr Mahachi, was spurned by the Mayor as his application was reportedly spiked for unclear reasons as the internal politics exploded at Town House.
The Mayor then favoured the City of Harare’s Acting Town Clerk Josephine Ncube. However, this turned when Human Resources Chairperson Wellington Chikombo (Ward 28, Glen Norah), supported by Ward 27 (Glen Norah B) Councillor Hebert Gomba, pushed for Chimombe to be appointed,” said the trust.
“IN bitterness over the rejection of Chimombe’s application, the two Councillors allegedly approached their party for a compromise candidate, which led them to then direct that an outsider would be the best suitable replacement of Dr Mahachi. The resultant interviews were a mere formality to ensure that the process remained legitimate, at least in the eyes of ignorant publics.”
The triust said last Friday’s suspension of Josephine Ncube was allegedly a culmination of concerted efforts by Chimombe, working with Councillor Chikombo to impose him upon the City of Harare, ignoring the glaring fact that Chimombe has been the holder of the employment register, and he was processing the payments, and actually also benefited from the salaries scandal.
“How they ignored the reality that he has been looting municipal funds, claiming to be following the orders of Dr Mahachi, boggles the mind. So as we seek the full document containing the revelations of the audit instituted by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) would leave no stone unturned as it tries to establish the full extent of the massive pay scandal, including the huge allowances paid to Councillors, and the residential stands that they are allegedly acquiring using the names of their spouses and siblings to avoid detection,” said the trust.
“It is important therefore at this stage not to dwell much on the contents of the audit report, because they remain sketchy. However, we have established that the leaked document was made available to the Mayor, Councillors Chikombo and Gomba, who are now using the report to blackmail senior managers, especially those in acting capacities to cooperate with them to hide more damaging information about their own scandals at the Harare Sunshine Holdings, City Park, Gulf Sunshine Bazaars, Harare Municipal Medical Aid Societies (HMMAS).”
The trust said information that has been made available is that Ncube’s ‘suspension’ is calculated merely to remove her from the process of recruiting heads of departments whose positions have been advertised to fill in the positions where senior managers are in acting capacities.
“The fear is that she would require them to adhere to Council policies, and hence deprive the Councillors of the chance to impose their preferred candidates, where Chimombe has been reportedly trying to shortlist with the involvement of the Mayor and Councillors Gomba and Chikombo,” said the trust.
“The HRT demands the suspension of all Council top managers in Grades 1- 4, in particular the Human Capital Director, who has no moral or corporate governance ground to accept the nomination as the Acting Town Clerk in the case of the reported suspension of Mrs Ncube. He is complicit in this whole matter, and hence has no place to be involved in the investigation of Mrs Ncube or any other implicated director.”