BY BRENNA MATENDERE/DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Gokwe town secretary Melania Mandeya on Friday appeared at the Gokwe Magistrates Court facing four counts of corruption and violation of tender procedures.
Mandeya, who is represented by lawyer Solomon Kangembeu, appeared before magistrate Musaiona Shotgame and was remanded to tomorrow for bail hearing.
She is accused of criminal abuse of office in that in May 2019, she gave a tender to one Irene Maheya to provide catering services to delegates who attended the benchmarking exercise at council without consulting councillors and following proper tender procedures.
In another charge, the town secretary is again accused of giving a contract of US$12 000 to an adult person she was staying with, identified as Zaranyika, to supply curtains for town house without going to tender.
The adult person is believed to be her relative. Procurement regulations of Zimbabwe say any contracts above $10 000 should go to tender to allow for competitive bidding.
She is also accused of approving a $325 000 tender for the purchase of 24 solar panels for use at town house, but only 20 were delivered with the remaining four going for her personal use.
In another charge, Mandeya is accused of inflating the price of her official vehicle thereby prejudicing the local authority.
The State alleges that the full council resolved to award Mandeya Stand Number 156 Kambasha, Gokwe. On September 28, 2017, Mandeya approached the council housing department and requested to be offered Stand Number 155 Kambasha, Gokwe, which is adjacent to her Stand Number 156.
She allegedly erected a pre-cast wall without formalising the paper work and the council was prejudiced of US$4 000.
Meanwhile, Mandeya has been suspended following her arrest.
Last year The Standard in conjunction with Information for Development Trust, a non-profit making media organisation, carried an investigation which unearthed the allegations, but at that time Mandeya strongly denied any wrongdoing.
In the latest development, The Southern Eye on Sunday gathered information that councillors pushed for the process to suspend her from her job until the finalisation of the case at the courts. On Friday night, a letter for the suspension of Mandeya, who is still in custody, written by council chairperson Never Gwaunza, was delivered at town house barring her from visiting the premises should she be granted bail.
Yesterday Gwaunza was coy on the matter when contacted for comment.