HomeLocalTop Harare council boss’ scandal deepens

Top Harare council boss’ scandal deepens

BY STAFF WRITER

HARARE City Council director of works Isaiah Chawatama who reportedly evaded arrest in January is planning to travel to South Africa using a council vehicle although law enforcement agencies insist they are hunting for him, fresh details at hand show.

Chawatama was allegedly involved in a dramatic cat-and-mouse chase with police and investigators from the Special Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the President and Cabinet (Sacu), in January and since then he has been a free man.

However, Sacu said the council top official is not yet off the hook.

This was after a council employee wrote to Sacu questioning if Chawatama was a protected man who is above the law given that ever since he avoided arrest, he has been to his office to sign off key documents, while he is said to be on leave.

Sacu chair Tabani Mpofu confirmed that Chawatama was not yet a free man.

“He has an outstanding case and we are looking for him. We want him to answer to criminal charges,” Mpofu said.

Chawatama, according to documents in our possession, has been allowed to use a council NP300 truck registration number AAE 7176 to drive to South Africa.

The approval was granted by the acting director of works George Mutumhe, who wrote to the council transport department on March 17, 2021.

Chawatama is also likely to appear at the Harare magistrate court on Tuesday, alongside other council officials and a real estate company over a property dispute in Borrowdale, according to court summons dated  March 18.

Now, it remains to be seen whether the law enforcement agents will corner Chawatama, who is accused of evading Sacu and police officers.

The council top official is said to have criminally abused office after he allegedly extended his three-day appointment as acting town clerk in the absence of Prosper Chonzi – who was acting town clerk, then.

Chawatama is currently on official leave and is expected back in office on April 1.

According to documents in our possession Chawatama has been reporting for work and he even wrote a memorandum to the chamber secretary’s office on March 21 over the reinstatement of Gibson Moyo.

Meanwhile, drama is unfolding at Town House where the chief security officer Colleen Tongowona is reportedly refusing to be placed on leave pending investigations into his alleged criminal conduct over the sale of a housing stand in Marlborough.

On March 23, 2021, council’s acting human capital director Bozman Matengarufu wrote to the chamber secretary’s office raising complaints over Tongowona’s refusal to leave office until he is cleared.

“The department took note of the contents of the letter dated 26 February 2021 in which you instructed Doctor Tongowona to proceed on paid leave effective February 26, 2021 in order to pave way for investigations pertaining to allegations of gross misconduct that are being levelled against him,” Matengarufu wrote.

“Kindly take note that efforts to deliver the paid leave have not been fulfilled since Doctor Tongowona has suggested that the letter in question be referred back to the signatory.”

The conduct of the senior council officials including Chawatama and Tongowona has put the name of council into disrepute at a time when service delivery is deteriorating much to the chagrin of ratepayers.

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