Midlands Bureau Chief
TONGOGARA Rural District Council treasurer Ms Sithembiso Ndiripo has been suspended for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with her boss — the then chief executive officer Brian Rufasha — thereby compromising council business.
Midlands Provincial Development Coordinator Mr Abiot Maronge confirmed the suspension.
“I can confirm that the treasurer was suspended but am yet to get details on the allegations and the like,” he said yesterday.
However, according to a suspension letter served to Ms Ndiripo by the local authority, she was suspended with full benefits on Friday last week for acts of misconduct.
The misconduct arises from her alleged improper relationship with her former boss who has since been arraigned on criminal abuse of office charges.
Rufasha was fired on November 16, 2020 after a tribunal found him guilty on three charges of misconduct.
The suspension is to allow the local authority to investigate four cases of misconduct being levelled against her.
According to the suspension letter Ms Ndiripo and Rufasha’s affair allegedly compromised business particularly when their affair became sour.
Council payments were delayed as the two quarrelled — a development that affected service delivery.
“Council has good cause to believe you have committed acts of misconduct mentioned in Section 4 of SI 15/2006. By copy of this letter and with immediate effect council hereby suspends you from duty as its treasurer with full benefits to pave a way for investigations and possible disciplinary hearing against you,” reads the suspension letter.
Ms Ndiripo is also accused of gross incompetence or inefficiency for failing to implement pastel accounting and advise council on the programme.
She allegedly transferred her assistant to the Donga sub office when she was supposed to be assisting her in the main office.
Ms Ndiripo further allegedly allowed clerical staff to supervise her assistant when it was supposed to be vice versa.
Rufasha appeared before Shurugwi resident magistrate Ms Sithabile Zungula to answer two counts of abuse of office.
He was remanded out of custody to February 21 on $2 000 bail.
Allegations against Rufasha are that on April 20, 2018 and at Tongogara RDC, he unlawfully and intentionally awarded a tender to Pelgin Consultancy to supply a backhoe loader service against the advice of the procurement committee that the company had no capacity to supply such machinery.
As a result of the anomaly council allegedly lost US$67 850 as the loader was never delivered and the money not recovered.
On the second count, it is the State’s case that on August 26 2019, the former Tongogara boss allegedly unlawfully purchased a business stand for US$500 after misrepresenting to the initial buyer that the land had been re-possessed by council.
The court heard that Rufasha allegedly lied to Spiwe Tambaoga that her business stand number 33 Tongogara Growth Point had been re-possessed by the RDC.
He invited Tambaoga to his office where he allegedly coerced her to sell the stand to him for US$500 before proceeding to build a bottle store on the land contrary to his duties as a public officer.
Further allegations are that in July last year, Rufasha engaged services of the Gweru messenger of court to deliver mail to an employee on leave that she was wanted back at work when he could have phoned the worker.
Mr Pride Gomera appeared for the State.