Chitown officials in court

Source: Chitown officials in court | Herald (Africa)

Yeukai Karengezeka

Court Correspondent

Chitungwiza Town Council’s housing and community services director Mrs Hazel Sithole appeared in court on Friday with two other council workers and four councillors facing several counts of abuse of office involving illegal allocation of land and issuance of offer letters.

The other council workers were housing administrator Alex Mukwewa and works manager Engineer Emmanuel Mushata, while the four councillors were Stanley Warikandwa, Tonderai Chiwanza, Chengetai Nyagondo and Musa Makweza.

They initially appeared in court before Chitungwiza resident magistrate Mr Tinashe Tashaya last Thursday and were remanded in custody as the State was strongly opposing bail.

The seven, represented separately by Mr Job Sikhala, Mr Albert Nyikadzino, L. Makumbe and T Maanda, successfully argued that they were good candidates for bail.

Mr Tashaya granted them $25 000 bail each, although the State had proposed $50 000.

They were ordered to reside at their given addresses, to report to the nearest police station twice a week and not to interfere with witnesses and investigations.

They were also ordered to surrender their travelling documents at the clerk of court and are expected back in court on December 14 for routine remand.

According to prosecutor Mr Tatenda Mukatera, Mukwewa (45), who is represented by Mr Nyikadzino, is facing 154 counts of abuse of office charges.

He allegedly committed the offences during the time when he was the acting housing director.

Mr Mukatera alleged that on November 28, 2019, the Minister of Local Government and Public Works July Moyo, issued a suspension order to cease all issuance of land in Chitungwiza for any purpose until the suspension was lifted.

Despite the order, the accused did not follow it and went on to produce offer letters.

Sithole is facing 16 counts of abuse of office charges after she allegedly did not adhere to housing policy procedures.

She allegedly did not follow the competitive bidding process.

Among the beneficiaries is one W. Ngoro who was given an industrial stand number 31772 measuring 4 992 square meters.

On the other hand, Mushata, who was the acting works director at the time of committing the offence, allegedly acted in connivance with Cllr Nyagondo and identified an open space which was a gravel         road.

Mushata created the stand without authority from council and lied that the stand was already registered in council’s system and he went on to create a site plan.

Nyagondo was later served with a stop order from council, but he continued building a house structure.

On another charge, Cllr Makweza, who is the Deputy Mayor, identified an open space on a road servitude in Unit C.

He approached Mushata who gave him a stand number and Sithole issued an offer letter to Makweza’s wife, Katyamadzo Zimbodza.

The other charge involves Cllr Warikandwa and Cllr Chiwanza, who allegedly received US$4 200 cash from a home seeker Munyaradzi Mugoni, who wanted to buy a 300 square metre stand for his son.

The duo acted inconsistently with their duties by allocating a stand to him.