By Staff Reporter
THE Gokwe Town Council has unilaterally resolved to dismiss its town secretary Melania Mandeya over a raft of corruption charges and being unqualified for the job.
The council also fired Joconia Nyoni on allegations of abetting Mandeya in her thieving acts.
Council chairperson Never Gwanzura confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com this week that the two senior officials’ contracts had since been terminated.
Gwanzura said following internal investigations by the council, a resolution was made to dismiss Mandeya and Nyoni from their lofty positions.
The duo also faces criminal charges and was released on bail last year following arrest over abuse of office charges.
“We have dismissed the two following reports of abuse of office after conducting our own internal investigations. The two were dismissed from council due to incompetence and fraudulent activities whilst the council expected them to be council trustees,” he said.
Gwanzura added he had since written to Local Government Minister July Moyo about the decision.
“As council we did our duty, we have sent their dismissal letters to the parent ministry so we are still awaiting a response from the minister,” he said.
Last year, an anti-graft watchdog, the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACTSA), released a damming dossier against Mandeya.
In the report, ‘The State of Corruption, Service Delivery and Maladministration at Gokwe Town House’, Mandeya was reported to be not qualified for the top administrators job.
“It is alleged that the current town secretary (Mandeya) was offered the position of regardless of having come fourth in interviews, and not having the required qualifications,” the report said.
“Before the interview, the panel was allegedly coached by the then council chairperson to give (better) marks to Melania Mandeya. Furthermore, the incumbent did not apply for the post during the first round of applications and the post had to be re-advertised to accommodate her application.”
According to ACTSA, unidentified influential and senior officials at the Local Government Ministry facilitated that Mandeya got the job.
The report further claimed before Mandeya commenced her duties as town secretary, she was illegally paid her salary and associated allowances, and though some senior council managers tried to block this, it was to no avail.
ACTSA’s report also accused Mandeya of awarding tenders to her relatives and close friends.
“It is alleged that tenders are sometimes awarded to family members, friends and compatriots. For instance, the tender for the supply of curtains to the town house was awarded to a relative, whilst in May 2019, the tender for catering services of a bench-marking exercise was awarded to another relative.”
“On or about 2011/2, the local authority paid US$23 000 for a brand new Nissan NP300, which has never been delivered to date. In the process, the local authority suffered financial loss to the tune of US$23 000.
“Council also bought a Chevrolet vehicle for US$58 000 where there were other bidders who had charged less. For instance, there was a bidder who had charged US$51 000. Considering financial constraints besetting the local authority it would have saved $7 000.”
The report further claimed Mandeya acting against council regulations took possession of two residential stands in Gokwe’s low density suburb.