Acting Gweru Town Clerk acquitted
Gweru (New Ziana) –Former Gweru City Council acting Town Clerk Douglas Chikwekwe is now a free man after the state on Wednesday withdrew before plea, charges of criminal abuse of office.
His lawyer, Admire Rubaya of Rubaya and Chatambudza Legal Practitioners said the case was withdrawn before plea at the Gweru Magistrates Court where Chikwekwe was appearing before magistrate Tendai Mahwe.
Chikwekwe, who tendered his resignation letter as substantive Chamber Secretary last week, was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for contravening Section 174 (1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) or contravening Section 94 (3) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (General Regulations) Statutory 1nstrument Number 5 of 2018.
He was accused of awarding contracts to Wackdrive (Pvt) Ltd, Sheasham Investments (Pvt) Ltd, and Casa Properties (Pvt) Ltd on 18 August 2020 without clearance from the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe Special Procurement Oversight Committee.
Chikwekwe was denying the charges, arguing that he was not a member of the Evaluation Committee which adjudicated and evaluated the expression of interest for servicing the land for housing development in Mkoba 21 and Randolf Phase 1.
Awarding of tenders to the three companies, Chikwekwe said, was done by the full council on 24 July 2020 and the Memoranda of Agreements was also signed by the then Mayor Josphat Makumbe.
The then-acting Town Clerk Robson Manatsa wrote and signed letters to the three companies advising them they had won the bid to service the stands.
Chikwekwe tendered his resignation letter a fortnight ago after serving council for six years and five months.
In a 15-page resignation letter addressed to Gweru Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi, a copy of which New Ziana is in possession of, Chikwekwe said he was resigning due to “continuous persecution, victimization, duress and undue influence exerted by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors.”
He said he was not demanding a “golden handshake” from council but was asking for the statutory obligations and a contract of employment amended through a council resolution of 29 December 2017.
Chikwekwe, who is in possession of a Nissan Navara, says council owes him a Toyota Fortuner worth US$ 83 453-00, or a figure of US$ 83 453-00 be worked on Pro-rata, commercial stand (500 square metres) and an industrial stand (1200 square metres), outstanding leave pay, pay in-lieu of notice, medical aid, pension and social security benefits.