THE Epworth Local Board management is allegedly looting funds meant for service delivery by renting out cars bought for them by the council, Zim Morning Post has learnt.
An investigation by this publication showed that the local board was paying rental fees for seven cars which are being used by the top management.
Zim Morning Post, however, understands that the management received car loans from the council in 2017.
“The Epworth Local Board bought cars for its management in 2017 while phasing out the vehicles they were previously using in the 2011-2016 period,” a source told Zim Morning Post.
“However, the cars we phased out and are now being rented back to council by the same people who received them to use for council business,” the source added.
The seven managers currently receiving the car rental fees are the secretary for Epworth Local Board, Wilton Mhanda, Director of Public Works, administrator, audit manager, enviromental manager, finance and housing directors.
“In 2011 the secretary, Mhanda, received a Nissan Navara which was given out to him in 2017 when he received a new Ford Ranger to use for council business,” the source added,
Mhanda, however, is allegedly parked his own Ford Ranger at home and is now renting out the recently allocated Nissan Navara to the local board.
Moreover, Mhanda is believed to be using a Toyota Land Cruiser owned by the Epworth Local Board to carry out work-related and other personal duties.
Speaking to Zim Morning Post, Mhanda said the money they were receiving for the vehicles was not rental fee, claiming it was a condition of service.
“Yes, we receive money for the vehicles we are using, but it is not rental fees.
“It’s unfortunate that the bank always writes rental fee, but that money is a condition of service,” Mhanda told this publication.
But Mhanda failed to explain the purpose of using a vehicle owned by the Local Board for his daily routines, yet he was renting out his own car.
He claimed that he only started using the car after his went for service.
The Epworth Local Board, however, still pays rental fee to Mhanda.
The new revelation comes at a time Epworth residents have complained about poor service delivery being offered by the local council.
Almost 95 percent of the residents in Epworth have no piped water or sewage system while 75 percent of the roads are not tarred.
Epworth Residents Development Association co-ordinator Peter Nyapetwa said the vehicle scam was only a tip of the iceberg concerning illicit activities happening at the Epworth Local Board.
“There is a lot being done by the management to loot money from the residents, from charging rates in US dollars to selling stands,” Nyapetwa said.
“Since 2000, residents have paid their rates but there is no tangible development being done. Residents paid for the regularisation and the money was never accounted for,” he added.
There is no piped water, no seware systems and no tarred roads in Epworth.
“Whatever you see here was financed by donors while the management continue to award themselves heafty salaries and allowances,” Nyapetwa added.