By Staff Reporter
Gweru City Council mayor, Josiah Makombe (Pictured) has revealed that some of the local authority’s employees were being investigated for illegally cutting down pine trees worth over US $30 000.
Speaking at a media briefing on the state of the city, Makombe said an audit team was seized with the matter in a bid to recover the money.
“Currently we are dealing with a case of illegal cut down (of) pine trees which are valued at approximately 37 000 US dollars,”Makombe said.
“Our internal audit team is working to recover that money. Henceforth anyone caught on the wrong side will be dealt with by the arm of the law.”
Investigations by this paper revealed that some employees were selling pine wood to people without remitting the proceeds to the local authority.
The wood, which is less expensive compared to other (woods) is mostly used for making furniture, floors and windows.
It is in demand for its light weight, resistance to shrinking and swelling as well as good elasticity.
Makombe also said council would investigate all reports of land abuse by officials.
He said besides the auditors, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission was also keeping an eye on unscrupulous activities at the local authority.
“There are allegations of land scams, “he said.
“The forensic land audit report has seen some elements being suspended and they are still being investigated.”
He added: “We have also had cases of management who unlawfully allocated each other land, this issue is being investigated internally and externally.”
He said the local authority will deal with all corrupt tendencies “without fear or favour.”