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Mangochi residents lose trust in town council

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DUST is refusing to settle on the wrangle between residents of Mangochi Township and Town Council secretariat over revenue collection. The residents are still refusing to pay ground rates and market fees until an audit of the council is done.

The residents forced the secretariat to suspend the exercise to pave the way for investigations into allegations of financial mismanagement at the Mangochi Town Council.

In an interview on Thursday, Secretary for a grouping called concerned citizens, Andrew Ngulube, said they have not formally written the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the matter but have communicated through other means.

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Ngulube said they only had talks with the graft-busting body over the phone. “We have engaged ACB twice but on the phone. Soon after the incident, we contacted ACB in Blantyre but they referred us to their bureau in Zomba.

In the conversations we were asked to clarify the alleged mismanagement of funds at the[Mangochi] Town Council and we did. “Currently, those plying their trade in the town are asked to sweep their premises. The money that is being collected is used to clean up the toilets but it is not being remitted to the council,” said Ngulube.

Mangochi Town Council Chairperson, Ibrahim Kacheya, while confirming the disagreements said some operations at the council have been affected.

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He said in the stand-off which has been there for over a week, the council has been losing about K400, 000 per day. “We have three markets plus the depot where we collect market fee. With the on going suspension of revenue collection we are losing out.

We also fear that the monthly collection from bicycle taxis will also be compromised. We collect about K2.5 million from them [bicycle taxi operators] every month,” he said.

However, Kacheya said they are waiting for the concerned citizens to officially communicate to ACB who he believes will clear the council from the alleged financial fraud.

The suspension of revenue collection surfaced over a concern on how the council procured 350 chairs meant for the Mangochi multi-purpose hall at an alleged inflated price which the council is failing to explain to the people.

The council allegedly bought 350 plastic chairs at K1, 181, 000 but indicated to have spent K1.6 million.

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