Parly grills council over luxury cars

HARARE - Harare City Council senior management was yesterday grilled by Parliament over the alleged abuse of a $144 million loan sourced from China to rehabilitate water infrastructure.

Council management bought top-of-the range vehicles using the loan.

Anastasia Ndlovu, Zanu PF legislator and chairperson of the Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry parliamentary portfolio committee told acting town clerk Josephine Ncube that Harare residents were not amused with acquisition of the vehicles.

Council officials used $2 million from the facility to buy luxury vehicles including Range Rovers and Toyota V8 cars instead of refurbishing water facilities with  the $144 million.

“This money will be paid back using taxpayers’ money and people want to know what justification you can make on buying the vehicles with reports that you are abusing the loan money,” Ndlovu asked Ncube, who was accompanied by Engineer Christopher Zvobgo, director of Water .

Felix Mhonda, Zanu PF MP for Chikomba Central, said: “We need the report and agreement  from the Exim Bank and how you are using the money and whether  you followed the tender procedures in buying the vehicles. This is a major concern to us as you are using the ratepayers, some of them who are  tax-payers.”

Ncube defended the purchase of the vehicles.

“We agreed with Exim Bank that we are going to buy the vehicles and we only used $1,3 million for the vehicles as part of $8 million that is meant to buy equipment for the Harare water works project,” Ncube said.

“There was no abuse of the funds as we can account for every cent of the loan.”

Ncube was presenting oral evidence on progress made regarding upgrading of water treatment plants at Morton Jaffray Water Works and their management strategy in adhering to the regulations that control housing developments on mapped and protected Harare Wetlands.

Town clerk Tendai Mahachi reportedly got a Range Rover Vogue while engineers Zvobgo and Phillip Pfukwa received Land Rover Discovery 4’s each.

A special committee was set-up to investigate how the money was used and it includes two councillors and three outsiders.

Ncube said out of the vehicles purchased for the project, 35 were utility vehicles and 21 are meant for project personnel.

Harare city is undertaking  a major water project to revamp the water treatment plant at  Morton Jaffray Water Works which will be  completed next year in April to enable the city to provide clean water  to residents  and other people in dormitory towns of Ruwa , Chitungwiza and Norton.

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