Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
Mashonaland West provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo, Gweru district administrator and five other senior Government officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for Midlands province appeared in court on Friday facing charges of criminal abuse of office.
Chitiyo (50), who is the former PA for Midlands province, Matilda Manhambo (59), Sherpard Marweyi (48), Sifelani Moyo (59), Ethel Mlalazi (65), Chisainyerwa Chibhururu (47) and Everest Nyamadzawo (33) appeared before Midlands provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa facing 14 counts of criminal abuse of office involving 11 000 residential stands.
The seven were not asked to plead and were remanded out of custody on $200 bail each to March 16, when they are expected to join their co-accused — Jason Machaya — the former Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs, who is facing similar charges.
Machaya is on $1 000 bail. It is the State’s case that Chitiyo, who was employed as the PA for Midlands province, allegedly intentionally allocated State land totalling 4 469 stands to land developers by co-signing the offer letters for the State land with Machaya.
Manhambo, who is employed as the provincial projects officer by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for Midlands province, also allegedly intentionally allocated 2 000 stands to land developers and entities working in cahoots with Machaya.
Similarly, Marweyi, who is the District Administrator for Gweru, allegedly intentionally allocated 5 199 stands to land developers also working in cahoots with Machaya.
Moyo, who is the director (valuation and estate mismanagement) in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for Midlands province, and Mlalazi, who is employed as the principal director of physical planning and State land management in the same ministry, allegedly carried out valuation for the State land, which had been unlawfully allocated to land barons.
Chitiyo and Machaya allegedly approved the valuations. Chibhururu, who is employed as the provincial planner in the same ministry as Moyo and Mlalazi, allegedly unlawfully designed layout plans for the State land, plans which were approved by Machaya.
Nyamadzawo, who is an administrative officer in the same ministry with Chibhururu, Moyo and Mlalazi, is accused of unlawfully writing a survey instruction letter to the surveyor-general instructing his office to nominate a surveyor for the Stand land, knowing full well that Government had not allocated that land.
Survey instructions, the State alleged, can only be written in respect of State land allocated to persons and entities by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. Ms Helen Khosa appeared for the State.