Graft-accused Harare City directors to know fate soon

HARARE - Suspended Harare City Council (HCC) directors will know their fate once their cases have been concluded by the Labour Court.

Human resources committee chairperson Jacob Mafume told the Daily News the city would have to work with people in acting roles for those positions.

Last December, HCC suspended chamber secretary Josephine Ncube, director of finance Tendai Kwenda, human capital director Cainos Chingombe and health services director Prosper Chonzi over corruption allegations.

“The position of directors will remain vacant until finalisation of the labour issues.

“It is a process, some of the substantive posts will only be available once we have dealt with the human resources issues.

“At the moment there are committees that are working to clear the backlog on whether the people that were suspended can continue to work or be asked otherwise. I cannot pre-empt the proceedings as it is a labour issue,” Mafume said.

He said council needed to make sure the posts were available before they started scouting for new people to fill them in.

Mafume also emphasised that the outcome solely relies on the final result of what the committees would have agreed upon — whether the incumbents will return to work or be asked to leave.

“Unlike previously, the labour laws now have timelines where we are supposed to conclude issues, so there will not be in suspense for long.

“Now that we have a town clerk, he will be part of the process so that we do not have any more undue delays,” Mafume said.

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

The four executives have been on suspension for more than six months, with no conclusion to the matter in sight.

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

Allegations are that Chingombe, Ncube, Chonzi and Kwenda bagged $601 080, $506 175, $477 888 and $242 321 respectively.

It 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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