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New twist to Harare city case

The move to suspend Harare City Council top management has taken a new twist as it emerges that most of the alleged misdemeanours are in fact provided for in the managers’ contracts of employment.

Staff Reporter

The allegations against the city directors, including accusations of receiving bonus payment and other benefits, appear curious as the documents in the possession of The Standard, indicate clearly that the accused directors are actually entitled to the said benefits.

Two weeks ago council resolved to send some of its top managers on suspension pending disciplinary hearings on allegations that they received holiday allowances, performance based bonuses and annual bonuses without council’s approval and outside their contracts of employment.

According to documents in our possession however, the managers involved are entitled to these benefits and more.
The suspensions were a result of a tribunal report tabled to councillors which claimed that acting town clerk Josephine Ncube, director Finance Tendai Kwenda, Health director Prosper Chonzi and the director Human Capital Cainos Chingombe abused council funds.

According to a suspension letter written to one of the directors, by acting town clerk, Hosiah Chisango, council alleged that the director, for three years unlawfully received performance bonuses and the 13th cheque which he was not entitled to.

Also it was alleged that the director received holiday allowances and converted them to use other than their intended purpose.

“Further, you wrongly received the 13th cheque in 2013 and in 2014 when you were not contractually entitled to such. In any event, payment of such was neither approved by council, the local government board nor the minister,” reads the suspension letter to one of the directors.

But a copy of the employment contract for some of the directors (names withheld) reads: “The employer will pay the annual bonus (13th cheque) to the employee once every year”.

The contract also has a provision for the payment of performance bonuses.

“The employer will pay performance bonus to the employee once every year based upon the employee’s performance during the previous year,” reads part of the contract seen by The Standard.

The directors are also, according to their contract of employment, entitled to other benefits such as services of maids and security personnel at their residences. Our source said the managers had however not been claiming these benefits.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni last week said he had set up a disciplinary committee that would hear the cases of the suspended top management although he refused to divulge the names of members of the committee.

The tribunal that came up with the allegations against the city managers also came up with stunning findings to the effect that the city bosses plundered at least $389 000 from the traditional beer levy account which money they used to purchase personal luxury vehicles, without following due council procedure.

Efforts to obtain comment from mayor Manyenyeni on the contents of the directors’ contracts of employment vis a vis the allegations they are facing were fruitless yesterday.

Some of the accused managers contacted yesterday declined to comment on grounds that disciplinary hearings on the issue were still pending.

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