Kariba Municipality Top Officials In Court For Nepotism

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

TWO senior Municipality of Kariba (MoK) officials have appeared in court following their arrest for allegedly conniving to give a relative to one of them a job as a council nurse without following formal procedure.

Then acting town clerk Saratiere Chitenhe, who is council’s substantive finance director, and human resources manager Evans Chinyama were arraigned before Kariba magistrate Tendai Banda facing abuse of office charges.

They were remanded to March 20 on ZW$20 000 bail

The court heard that sometime in 2020, a Registered General Nurse (RGN) vacancy arose in the council’s health department, prompting the head of department, Violet Chisvo to request for recruitment of a nurse to fill the post.

The prosecution averred on May 20, 2020, accused persons hatched a plan to produce an advertisement for the RGN post, but never published it in the national press as stipulated by the MoK Human Resources Policies and Procedures under Section HR01 of Recruitment and Selection Policy.

The duo’s actions were also against the dictates of the SI 2018 Public Entities and Corporate Governance General Regulations Section (8)(2), which provide that “before appointing a person to a position as senior staff member of a public entity, the entity’s board shall cause the vacant position to be advertised at least once a week for two consecutive weeks in one or more newspapers circulating in the area in which the entity carries on its activities and for at least two weeks on the public entity’s website, if any”.

It was further heard that four job applications were received, including one from Ellen Kondowe who is Chinyama’s sister-in-law.

Applicant is wife to Ernest Chinyama, a brother to the human resources manager.

An interview date was set for September 24, 2020 purportedly for four shortlisted candidates including Chinyama’s sister-in-law.

On the scheduled interview day, only Kondowe showed up and Chitenhe subsequently wrote a letter of appointment dated October 26, 2020 in respect of Ellen Kondowe who took up the offer on December 1 the same year.

Chinyama also signed the appointment letter in his capacity as the human resources manager.

The two council officials, who had a duty as public officers to act in the best interest of MoK, acted contrary to or inconsistent with their duties when they failed to advertise the job.

Failure to advertise deprived potential candidates access to information of the vacant post, and this had the effect of eliminating possible competition for the post.

Prosecutor Karen Musiiwa represented the state.