Chombo fingered in $144 million Chinese loan abuse
…As ED, Chinese President question Harare deal
Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba has implicated former Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo for the alleged abuse of the $144 million loan facility meant to refurbish Morton Jaffray, saying the former Minister stood in the way of justice after city fathers had suspended former Town Clerk, Tendai Mahachi, on the matter.
This followed a threat to investigate Harare for the alleged abuse of the fund by President Emerson Mnangagwa in his Independence Day interview where he accused city officials of underhand dealings on the matter.
“We had a loan extended to Harare City Council by the Chinese for sanitation and water reticulation. That money was then used to buy cars and other luxuries. It didn’t address the issues for which the money had been given,” Mnangagwa said.
“When I met my brother and colleague President Xi Jinping and discussed about this loan, I wasn’t aware that had happened and so I said ‘Mr President, the loan was fully disbursed’ and he said ‘my brother, the money was not used for what we had given you for’. I was not aware people bought vehicles and some had workshops which had nothing to do with sanitation,” he said.
Gomba told zifmnews.com that the amount in question never came as $144 million but instead the local authority only received half the figure.
“It’s true some vehicles worth $2 million were bought as what the then executives led by Dr (Tendai) Mahachi said they were needed as project vehicles,” he said.
Council officials, ostensibly with the blessings of Chombo, bought Discovery 4 vehicles, Amarok VWs, Mazda BT50 vehicles arguing they were service vehicles for the project.
Officials said 21 project vehicles and 35 utility vehicles were bought using the funds.
The vehicles were given to some officials who had nothing to do with the project at hand which was seen as the panacea to the water crisis in the capital.
“The matter was investigated by council, which was led by the late deputy Mayor Thomas Muzuva and this revealed information pointing to the irrational and irregular payment of these vehicles.
“This led to the suspension of the Dr Mahachi who was later reinstated by the Ministry of Local Government,” Gomba said.
“We welcome any investigation that may be undertaken, but the results are the same that the ministry of Local Government as it was then had a hand in the procurement and the matters of impunity which later prevented further action.”
“All other matters can be referred to the ministry as then led by previous Ministers.”
Chombo and Saviour Kasukuwere are the immediate previous Local Government ministers.
Gomba appealed to government to help the balance of $72 million which the Chinese have not been releasing. We also are pleading for the urgent construction of Kunzvi dam, Musamhi dam among others by government to ensure consistent supply of potable water.”