The skirmish between Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somvelo Dlamini and Town Clerk Ronnie Dube has intensified with the latter being arrested for alleged abuse of office.
WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR?
Dlamini suspended Dube without pay and benefits last week Wednesday accusing him of “corruption, gross incompetence, abuse of office and causing the local authority to lose revenue” but councillors convened a special meeting on Monday and reversed the suspension. However, councillors resolved to revoke the suspension saying it was null-andvoid after the mayor who they accused of making solo decisions, had failed to give them concrete reasons for suspending the town clerk.
The councillors also ordered Dlamini to reinstate Dube, but he had not done as instructed by Wednesday when police officers from Hwange swooped on the town clerk as he left office and took him to the coal mining town where he was detained.
Dube, who started his second five-year term last October, appeared before magistrate Gladmore Mushowe Thursday charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
He was remanded in custody till today when prosecutors Martha Cheda and Memory Munsaka are expected to respond to an application for refusal of further remand and unlawful arrest by defence lawyer Matshobana Ncube assisted by Nomusa Khumalo.
WHAT ARE THE ALLEGATIONS?
The Special Anti-Corruption Unit alleges that Dube forced the council in 2017 to sell a commercial stand to a local tour operator, Shearwater Adventures without following procedures in terms of tender processes.
It is alleged that he engaged Backstone Properties to evaluate the land and a report from the valuator containing the price was availed on February 11, where he reported to the council that there was a buyer for the land.
Prosecutors allege Dube misrepresented during a Victoria Falls full council meeting that only Shearwater Adventures wanted commercial stand number 1782 yet there were other companies that had also expressed interest, including Wild Horizons.
Council resolved to sell the stand to Shearwater Adventures without following tender procedures outlined in a council resolution passed on April 1, 2014, which required that commercial stands be sold on tender.
Prosecutors allege Dube, in the exercise of his duties or function intentionally influenced the council through his report to sell the commercial stand which was contrary or inconsistent with his duty as a public officer.
This is the second time Clr Dlamini has suspended Dube, the first being on August 4, 2020 when he wrote a suspension letter, similar to the one served last Wednesday and with similar allegations. Clr Dlamini later withdrew the suspension through a letter dated August 27, 2020 after some councillors opposed the suspension.
Dube joined Victoria Falls City on December 1, 2016 replacing Mr Christopher Dube who had become Bulawayo Town Clerk. The council renewed his contract in October last year.