By Mashonaland East Correspondent
POLICE in the small farming town of Chivhu, about 160km south-west of Harare have recovered goods worth thousands of dollars including fuel, vehicle parts looted from the Ministry of Transport intended for Cyclone Idai victims.
Two Ministry employees have since been jailed and further investigations continue.
A statement issued by the police said they recently carried out a three week blitz in the town following tip-offs from the public, on the increase of criminal activities and abuse of office by government officials in the town.
“The looting of Cyclone Idai donations, the (bitumen) tar debacle in Chivhu and the stripping of batteries, vehicle parts, fuel at the Ministry of Transport in Chivhu, exposes our rotten corruption culture,” the statement reads.
The police investigations led to the arrest and conviction of two workers employed by the Ministry. The pair received jail terms of 35 months each after being convicted of stealing diesel and vehicle parts meant for the construction of the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway.
Webster Wara (29) and Alfred Mafusire (21), pleaded guilty to siphoning 200 litres of diesel from earth-moving equipment at the Chivhu campsite, when they appeared before resident Magistrate Ngoni Nduna.
Mafusire was also ordered to pay a fine of RTGS$400 or serve six months in jail for stealing 10 batteries from construction equipment at the Chivhu campsite. All the batteries were recovered.
Police in the town are also investigating a case in which 23 000 litres of bitumen tar meant for the Beitbridge-Chirundu Highway construction disappeared last month.
In the statement, the police went on to thank Chivhu residents for informing them on the criminal and corrupt activities in the town.
“The ZRP wishes to express its utmost appreciation and sincere gratitude to the public who are supplying information on criminal movements, abuse of office by errant government officials and also recovery of stolen property in the last week,” the police said.
However, it could not be ascertained on how the Cyclone Idai investigations had progressed. The district was one of the areas that were affected by the tropical storm, which hit some parts of Zimbabwe in March and caused severe damage, leaving nearly 500 people dead. At least 700 families in Mashonaland East are in need of food and shelter assistance.