President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s water pumping machinery donation to Harare City Council’s Warren Park Water Control Pumping Station worth ZWL$20.7m has been stolen, Business Times has established.
The donation, which entailed an assortment of seven rotors for pumps at Harare’s Warren Water Control, weighing approximately 70 tonnes, was made last year to alleviate worsening water shortages in the capital.
The city is facing water shortages with some suburbs going for days and weeks without water supplies.
Others have gone for years without water forcing residents to use unsafe water sources thereby exposing them to waterborne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme confirmed the theft saying a report has since been made at Warren Park police station under case number RRB Number 4612957.
“A report has since been received and investigation is now in progress. A report was made at ZRP Warren Park on January 11, 2021 and no arrests have been made yet,” Chideme said.
A well-placed source told Business Times this week that there was massive stripping of water pumping machines by council officials.
Given the weight of the rotors, investigators would want to ascertain what could have been used to move all of them from the Warren Park water station. It is now suspected that it was an inside job, which might implicate the local authority’s top officials.
“Rotors are heavy and not something that one can just put in his pocket and leave the premises.
This operation required cranes for loading and that means this was done in the full view of a lot of people,” one source who requested anonymity told Business Times.
“The potential buyers of these rotors are commercial farmers and mines. This type of operation means there was a ready buyer.”
The worsening water situation in Harare has resulted in the town clerk and some directors in the water department being implicated in corruption charges.
President Mnangagwa’s crack team, the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU), is currently investigating a case in which the City Council could have been prejudiced of more thanUS$6m.In this case, top officials at the Harare City Council, including suspended Town Clerk, Hoseah Chisango, were implicated.
It is alleged that the City Council officials were importing water chemicals worth US$6m per month from South Africa and China, yet there were cheaper local chemicals from Chemplex Corporation.
It is understood that there is also another potential scandal involving the procurement of water pumping machines, which has triggered an investigation by SACU and other law enforcement agents.