Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Sunday News Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) last week arrested former Gweru Town Clerk, Daniel Matawu on allegations of corruption involving stands worth more than US$78 000 which were illegally sold without following proper procedures.
Zacc has also laid charges against the late former director of Engineering Services, Johns Natambwe and the late former employee Ivan Muzondo over corruption and abuse of office after they allegedly connived to sell stands without changing use as well as plan approval from the parent ministry.
On Friday Matawu appeared before Gweru magistrate Miss Miriam Banda facing two counts of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer. He was remanded out of custody to 3 December on $10 000 bail. For the State, Miss Margret Mukucha told the court that sometime in 2013, the local authority management decided to use the golf course in Mkoba 4 for residential purposes but did not follow procedures for converting the piece of land as well as changing its use.
The court heard that the council did not make a resolution to that effect and did not submit an application for the change of use to the Minister of Local Government through the provincial planning officer for assessment of the proposed change. It was alleged that Matawu working in connivance with Natambwe and Muzondo did not lodge their layout plan and application for change and reservation to the Department of Physical Planning.
The trio created and sold five stands which are stand numbers 7342, 7447, 7449, 7463 and 7464 in Mkoba 4 on an active open space which was a golf course without the approved layout plan and change of reservation by the responsible Minister thereby not following proper procedures.
The court also heard that Matawu and Natambwe undersized stand number 7464 to 3 400 square metres but upon inspection, the stand was measuring 8 789 square metres in extent thereby showing favour to the beneficiary and prejudicing council of potential revenue. In total, they sold land measuring 22 389 square metres valued at US$66 659,22.
Miss Mukucha further alleged that sometime in 2009, council decided to create five institutional stands in Mambo location in Gweru on an open space and Matawu again working in connivance with Natambwe and Muzondo did not lodge their lay out plan and application for change of reservation to the Department of Physical Planning.
The three allegedly sold five institutional stands with numbers 9110, 9108, 9109, 9241 and 9108 on an active open space without approved lay out plan and change of reservation by the responsible Minister thereby not following proper procedures.
The land sold measures 6 000sqm valued at US$12 000 000. Miss Mukucha said Matawu’s responsibility was to make sure that proper procedures were followed before parceling out land thereby unlawful and intentionally did that which was contrary to or inconsistence with his duties as a public officer by showing favor to few selected people instead of the required first come first saved basis. Meanwhile, Zacc is still investigating Councillor Chirau who allegedly parceled out land to his minor children.