Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council has resolved to reimburse the $166 000 that three former councillors spent in legal fees after they were acquitted of abuse of office charges by the High Court recently.
The former councillors are Urayayi Mangwiro, Wilton Janjazi and Pauline Macharangwanda. The three, together with a former town clerk and four other officials were accused of abuse of office after they were alleged to have shown favour to ERAC by awarding it a $13 816 117 tender for the rehabilitation of the Firle sewerage digester and ancillary works without following the council’s tender procedures.
“The chamber secretary (Mr Charles Kandemiiri) reported on the circumstances that led to the three former councillors and one council employee being charged for abuse of duty as public officers,” according to recent finance committee minutes.
“However, in May 2019 the High Court of Zimbabwe acquitted them of criminal charges laid against them under case number CRB17/18,” reads the minutes.
Mr Kandemiiri reported that the former councillors had then in terms of Section 111 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) written to council seeking the reimbursement of the legal fees they incurred during the course of the matter.
Council’s external lawyers also opined that the claim of compensation had legal approval.
“The external lawyers said the former councillors were in council service. The charges arose because they were members of the Procurement Board. The fact the councillors were acquitted shows that their conduct was in good faith and without recklessness.
“That in terms of Statutory Instrument 33 of 2019 the legal fees are payable in RTGS dollars at the rate of one is to one with the United States dollars,” read the minutes.