UMZINGWANE Rural District Council chief executive Ndumiso Mpofu was on Wednesday last week acquitted at the close of the State’s case where he was being charged with criminal abuse of office.
Mpofu (57) was arrested in 2021 by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) but he was freed after the court said there was no evidence linking him to the offence.
He was being represented by Dumisani Dube of Dube Legal Practice. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Gwanda magistrate Charity Maphosa dismissed the charges.
Mpofu was arrested in Esigodini sometime in 2021 and he initially appeared before then Esigodini magistrate Nomagugu Sibanda before the matter was transferred to Gwanda.
In a warned and cautioned statement signed on May 18, 2021, it was noted that Mpofu was informed by Zacc investigations officer Nyasha Muchenje that inquiries were being made in connection with a case ofabuse of office.
It was alleged that during the period stretching from 2017 to 2020, Mpofu unlawfully and intentionally flouted tender procedures when he handpicked six land developers namely Thy Strength Investments, Zotway Investments (PVT) Ltd, Wamafari Enclave (PVT) Ltd, Party Mhlanga, G&G Properties and Shashec Enterprises (PVT) Limited, which he allegedly unilaterally and corruptly contracted to construct two-roomed residential houses.
The houses belonged to Umzingwane RDC and were built at a cost of US$996 000 which is above the US$10 000 tendering threshold. Mpofu allegedly approved the contracts without going to tender and without authority of Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe contrary to and inconsistent with his duties as a public officer.
It was also alleged that Mpofu, on September 2, 2019 unlawfully sold State land designated for a community multi-sport centre to a company known as Trukumb Mining (PVT) Ltd for US$76 000 without going to tender or getting council approval.
The land in question measures 3,96 hectares and appears in the Department of Physical Site Plan as a proposed sports complex site, Habane referenced GA 364.