ChiTown reviews debt collectors' deal

HARARE - Chitungwiza Town Council is mulling terminating its debt collecting contract with former Zanu PF legislator Paul Mangwana on the back of outcries by residents accusing the former minister’s company of being overly aggressive in the execution of its duties.

Residents have already rejected a proposal by the Madzudzo Pawadyira-led commission to engage debt collectors to recover money owed to council.

“Mangwana has been doing all the debt collecting services for the town since 2015 but there has been mounting pressure from residents to disengage him.

“The executives now want him to finalise work he had started so they terminate his contract,” a council official told the Daily News.

Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association (Camera) director Marvellous Kumalo told the Daily News that residents had always been complaining about debt collectors since they were introduced.

“Most of the debts the council is referring to are contestable in court as most of the bills are based on estimates.

“Residents stand by the position that council should rely on its internal debt control unit rather than hire external services that are expensive for both the local authority and residents,” Kumalo said.

Pawadyira could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Other local authorities that used Mangwana’s company as debt collectors are Harare, Karoi, Chinhoyi and Norton.

In August the Law Society of Zimbabwe convicted Mangwana of unprofessional practice after he hired tracers to investigate what Chitungwiza residents owed the municipality in order for their properties to be attached.

Mangwana is challenging the LSZ’s decision which he said was irregular.

According to the LSZ, Mangwana acted in a barbaric and streetwise manner unbefitting of a legal practitioner.

“You extorted and intimidated members of the public through a letter that was based on falsehoods.

“You threatened attachment of identified property fully aware that there were no judgments to that effect.

“You authorised your name and the name of your law firm to be used to illegally search people, thus, violating people’s privacy,” LSZ said.

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