HCC 'delays' probe of executives

HARARE - Harare City Council (HCC) has been accused of delaying the completion of a probe into the conduct of its four executives who are currently on suspension over a raft of allegations.

This comes as a tribunal appointed to probe the executives is yet to complete its investigations which it said have been delayed by the city fathers.

The four, Cainos Chingombe, Josephine Ncube, Tendai Kwenda and Propser Chonzi are facing accusations of unlawfully receiving hefty salaries and allowances.

Outgoing deputy mayor Enock Mupamawonde said the retired High Court judge George Smith-led Tribunal had only finished hearings for one of the four.

“When the Tribunal demanded their money during the last full council meeting, they had indicated that one was done and three more were left.

“The issue has taken too long and needs to be finalised so that the four know their fate,” he said.

According to the Labour Act once an employer suspends an employee, investigations into the matter are conducted and a hearing should be done within 14 working days.

However, the four executives have been on suspension for more than six months, with no signs of conclusion in sight.

In the last full council meeting before the July 30 national harmonised elections, councillors complained of the delays in concluding the matter.

Former Glen View councillor Wellington Chikombo said the city should expedite the process of investigating our executives.

“From a justice point of view there is no form of justice taking place with those members who were suspended. If they are found guilty let it be but if they are innocent let them return to work, rather than to continue without finalising the issue. The matter is now affecting council’s credibility and mandate of service delivery,” said Chikombo.

The Tribunal was set up after an audit report by the Local Government ministry showed that nine executives were overpaid in their retrenchment packages by $1,2 million while also receiving unbudgeted bonuses amounting to more than $600 000.

Chingombe, Ncube, Chonzi and Kwenda were accused of pocketing $601 080, $506 175, $477 888 and $242 321, respectively.

The audit also indicated that 40 executives reportedly received education allowances of more than $800 000 as well as holiday leave allowances of more than $300 000.

Furthermore, the report also revealed that $282 000 was transferred into retrenched executive managers bank accounts from HCC’s Beer Levy and Estates account outside of employment costs.

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