By Mark Mhukayesango
Gweru, October 12, 2015-Suspended Gweru Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi has been ordered to pay back
$1875,00 rate payers money which he allegedly used to settle hotel
allowances for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and party executives
during his last visit to Gweru in March,Radio VOP has learnt.
Kombayi allegedly used council money to order lunch at Antelope Park
and hotel accommodation at Regency Fairmile Hotel when Tsvangirai
visited Gweru for a tour of council projects in March.
The tribunal which investigated misappropriation of funds following
the suspension of Kombayi and 16 other councillors, also revealed that
Town Clerk Daniel Matawu had signed for the release of the funds.
Matawu has since received a warning.
A report in possession of Radio VOP reveals that Kombayi
misappropriated rate payers’ money for party business.
“The Mayor some times funded his party expenses using rate payers
monies to pay expenses amounting to plus $1875.00 for services
provided by Antelope Park and Regency Hotel to Mr Morgan Tsvangirai
and his MDC-T party members on different occasions.
The audit team concluded that Kombayi failed to separate council
business and politics.
Kombayi has since been ordered to pay back the money.
The Town Clerk has also come under fire for authorising the withdrawal
of the money.
“The Town Clerk failed to safeguard rate payers funds at the rime
council was failing to pay its employees, and ensure that they are
spend on legally authorised amounts,” it reads further reads.
According to the Public Finance Management Act Chapter 22,19 section
45 c requires the Town Clerk to take effective and appropriate steps
to prevent irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Responding to allegations, Kombayi said MDC-T councillor never used
rate payers money to fund Tsvangirai’s trip.
“Since the MDC leader had visited Gweru, it was prudent that we host
him and to be honest we never used a dime from council coffers. These
allegations are only meant to frustrate our reinstatement , but they
know its not true,” said Kombayi.
“We will not listen to what an unqualified tribunal says.”
The tribunal chaired by Lixon Chikumbirike, former Midlands
provincial administrator Stephen Chakaipa, Ganyani Khosa and
prosecutor Justin Uladi came under fire last month from MDC
councillors who argue that they are unqualified to hold the carry out
Kombayi and other councillors last month refused to appear before the
tribunal set by Minister of Local Government Savior Kasukuwere which
has since last week been disbanded.
Although Kombayi and 10 others were cleared by High Court Judge
Justice Nokuthula Moyo,Kasukuwere has been adamant to reinstate
Speaking to Radio VOP MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu professed
ignorance about the report, saying it had not come to his party’s
attention that Kombayi used council money for party business.
“It could only be fair for us to look at the audit report so that we
chat the way forward as a party. But we have not yet seen the audit
report,” said Gutu.
By Mark Mhukayesango