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Gweru Town Clerk Arrested For Criminal Abuse Of Office

Gweru Town Clerk Arrested For Criminal Abuse Of Office

Gweru City Council (GCC) acting Town Clerk Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe has been arrested for alleged criminal abuse of office.

Chikwekwe was arrested by the police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), reported Chronicle.

He appeared for initial remand before Gweru magistrate Miriam Banda facing one count of criminal abuse of office.

He was not asked to plead. Banda remanded him out of custody on $100 000 bail to 17 March 2023.

Chikwekwe was ordered not to interfere with State witnesses and reporting once every fortnight at the ZACC offices in Gweru.

Prosecuting, Fredrick Matsheza told the court that the complainant is Tapiwa Hove who is employed by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) as a legal manager.

It is alleged that sometime in 2020, GCC wanted to develop and service Mkoba 21 stands.

On 19 May of the same year, the local authority advertised an invitation of expression of interest in the Zimbabwean Government Gazette for tender number GCC /01/06/2020.

Eight prospective bidders submitted their applications and on 30 June 2020, the technical evaluation committee recommended that Sheasham Investments, Casas Properties and Wackdrive (Pvt) Ltd be shortlisted as they were compliant with the mandatory requirements.

On 3 July 2020, the Procurement Management Unit Committee (PMUC), which was chaired by Chikwekwe, approved the recommendation made by the technical evaluation committee.

Further, the PMUC allegedly recommended that the tender be submitted to the Special Procurement Oversight Committee (SPOC).

Chikwekwe, as the accounting officer, allegedly submitted the tender documents to the SPOC for review on 29 July 2020.

The State alleged that he was supposed to obtain clearance from the SPOC with regard to the documents he had submitted on 29 July 2020, for review.

It was further alleged that the accused proceeded to award contracts to the three bidders on August 18, 2020, without clearance from the SPOC in contravention of Section 94 (3) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of the Public Assets Act (General) Regulations SI 5 of 2018 which requires for certification by the SPOC before awarding a contract.

The court heard that on 20 August 2020, PRAZ wrote a letter directing Chikwekwe to collect bids, extend bid validity, correct the evaluation reports and submit the revised evaluation reports which showed that the SPOC had not certified the awarding of the contracts to the three developers.

Prosecutors said Chikwekwe acted inconsistent or contrary to his duties as accounting officer for GCC by awarding contracts for the servicing of Mkoba 21 stands to Sheasham Investments, Casas Properties and Wackdrive (Pvt) Ltd without clearance from the SPOC thereby showing favour to the three land developers and disfavour to the other companies who bid for the servicing of the stands.

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