The Public Service Commission (PSC) has suspended without salary and allowances Registrar-General Clemence Masango who is facing charges of criminal abuse of office as a public officer after he allegedly instructed CMED to buy a double cab and six single cab pick-up trucks without Cabinet approval before using the vehicles at his farm.
The suspension will run from May 8, 2020 to August 2020 and is meant to allow Auditor General Mrs Mildred Chiri to conduct a forensic audit of the central registry.
Masango has denied any wrongdoing saying the process of buying the cars started long before he assumed duty as Registrar-General and that payments were made within 10 days of him assuming duty on September 24, 2018.
He said he found no reason to seek authority from accounting officers, as CMED was mandated to procure vehicles on behalf of the Government. Masango also denied misusing Government vehicles at his farm, saying he only acquired the land in December last year.
When contacted yesterday over the suspension, Masango declined to comment referring questions to Secretary for Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Aaron Nhepera.
Mr Nhepera confirmed the suspension. “That issue is handled by the PSC because of his level as a senior Government official. I only come in when I asked him to sign the letter to show that he had received it,” said Mr Nhepera.
According to a letter signed by PSC Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe, Masango was suspended to allow a forensic audit and will not be allowed to leave the country without the permission of the employer.
His bail conditions included the need for him to surrender his passport to the court, so he is now under a double travel ban.
“The reasons for your suspension are that your continued attendance at work or your continued performance of duties would enable you to hinder or interfere with the investigations or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct, occasion prejudice to any moneys or property likely to be handled by you in the course of your work and also be undesirable in the public interest or likely to lead to a loss of public confidence in the Public Service.”
Masango was directed not to go to work during the period of his suspension.
“Since the nature of the allegations you are facing involve financial prejudice to the Government, you shall not be entitled to a suspension allowance during the period of suspension.”
Last week Masango was granted $10 000 bail by a magistrate court and had to handover the title deeds to his home as extra surety when he appeared for his initial remand.
Masango was arrested last week by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission after an investigation into allegations raised by one of his subordinates, chief accountant Peter Bwanya, who is himself facing a disciplinary hearing after allegedly forcing one of his subordinates to resign at gunpoint.