Mhona in abuse of office storm

By Phillipa Jaja

TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development minister Felix Mhona faces possible criminal abuse of office after setting up mobile Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) depots to facilitate the acquisition of provisional driver’s licences in his constituency to solicit for votes ahead of August 23 elections.

VID is a government institution which facilitates driver’s licence but does not have amenities in outlying areas such as Chikomba.

Nevertheless, “on Friday, more than 60 youths in Headman Chandiwana’s area sat for the provisional driver’s licence test at Masasa shopping centre,” reports the Newsday.

Mhona, a Zanu PF aspiring candidate for the Chikomba East constituency facilitated the acquisition of provisional driver’s licences for up to 500 youth at Masasa shopping centre.

The act has sucked Mhona into a driver’s licence scam after he reportedly overcharged the villagers.

“They were ordered to pay the fees exclusively in United States dollars, at US$20 instead of $37 800 in local currency.

“After paying US$20, the driver’s licence seekers were given receipts acknowledging payment for $37 800, which they questioned as they realised that they had paid more than three times the legal fee.

“The $37 800 was equivalent to US$6 according to the official exchange rate of the day.

“Before sitting for the provisional driver’s licence test, the candidates were ordered to pay U$10, which was not receipted for compulsory oral driving lessons that were provided by the government-run Central Mechanical Equipment Department (CMED), one day before they sat for the test.”

Asked for comment, Mhona asserted that the youth were happy about the programme.

A co-ordinator in Mhona’s office in Chikomba, Lovemore Masunugure, said the driver’s licence seekers had to pay the inflated fee of US$20 because the tests had been pre-booked.

He said there was a “third party” who had done the bookings on behalf of the youth a month before they took the tests.

He, however, failed to explain why the candidates had to pay the US$20 on the day of the test if they had been pre-booked.

“The programme, which is targeting over 500 youths, is pre-booked and the pre-booking was done over a month ago when the rate was around 1:1 400 and the person who pre-booked has lost because of the rate. We still expect more and more to come so as to minimise the loss to the benefactor,” Masunugure said.

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