AG’s report leads to suspension of rural council CEO

October 13, 2020

Brenna Matendere

The Tongogara Rural District Council (RDC) on Monday suspended its chief executive officer, Brian Rufasha, on a raft of corruption allegations dating back to 2018 that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is investigating.

He will soon appear at a disciplinary hearing.

The development came barely a week after the Auditor General’s office produced a report about the graft cases presided over by Rufasha and sent it to the ZACC for investigation.

Last year, ZACC also probed the Gokwe Town Council’s secretary, Melania Mandeya, leading to her suspension and arrest. Her trial is ongoing.

In 2018 Information for Development Trust, a nonprofit organisation supporting journalists to report on corruption and bad governance, commissioned an investigation—which was published by The Standard newspaper—of the corruption at the rural council,

The AG’s latest report corroborated the findings of the investigative story.

Part of the AG’s report reads: “In July 27, 2018, council purchased a back-hoe excavator and a full payment of US$67, 850 was made to the supplier (Voucher 57 of 2018). Rufasha approved and authorised payment but it has not been delivered up to date”.

Since 2018 no action had been taken against Rufasha despite repeated publication of his alleged corruption and protests by residents of Tongogara.

The residents complained that Rufasha presided over numerous shady deals and failed to supervise service delivery.

Inside sources accused him of inflating prices of services rendered to the council.

In suspending Rufasha, Tongogara RDC chairman, Timire Njovan,i cited the cases.

“This letter serves to inform you that you have been suspended by the council from your duties as the Chief Executive Officer for Tongogara Rural District Council with immediate effect,” says the letter, which was served on Rufasha last night.

The letter accused Rufasha of “irregularities and inconsistencies in the finance department”, and added that he “failed to take legal or corrective action on the matter of the backhoe loader which you authorised the payment for”.

“You failed to secure the investment and also failed to bring the supplier to book. Action was only taken over two years after payment was made.  This has left council exposed and it is proof that you did not timeously undertake action to correct this matter.”

Njovani further accused Rufasha of inconsistency in the repossession of stands, saying that prejudiced council of potential revenue.

“It is apparent that there is no consistency as to what criteria has been used to reposes stands and this has led to a damage to the image of council,” added Njovana.

The CEO has been barred from entering council premises or communicate with any council employees. .

Rufasha confirmed he had been suspended but could not be drawn into discussing the matter further.

“No comment for now, (I) will only comment after the (disciplinary) hearing,” he said.

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