Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
Acting Harare City Council town planner Samuel Nyabeze and surveyor Munyaradzi Bowa will find out today if they can be released on bail before trial on charges of criminal abuse of office involving their alleged connivance with Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba in illegally altering an approved layout plan and transferring it to another user.
Nyabeze, who was represented by lawyer Simon Chabuka and Bowa, who was represented by lawyer Marufu Mandevere, on Friday initially appeared before magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna who remanded them in custody to today for bail application. The two are being separately charged.
It is alleged that Nyabeze and Bowa in June last year allegedly connived with Gomba, who has also been arrested, and altered an approved layout plan belonging to Youths in Business Housing Trust.
In so doing, the two allegedly converted the State land into council land and allocated it to Taringana Housing Scheme with the same plan number that was allocated to Youths in Business Trust.
It is said, Gomba, in his capacity as the ceremonial mayor, wrote a memorandum on 18 February this year saying that the plan for Taringana Housing Scheme had been approved and council should survey the piece of land.
The court heard that the letter was misleading and inaccurate since the same plan had been issued and approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works to the Youths in Business Housing Scheme.
Plans to proceed with the change had also been set aside by the Town Clerk, but Gomba disregarded such advice, a court heard with Gomba acting beyond his powers as a ceremonial mayor.
The Environmental Management Authority Agency (EMA) inspected the land and noted that 40 percent was wetland, recommending that this part be left out of the planned development.
It alleged that the two officials went on to demarcate the wetland into 530 housing stands, which was said to be in violation of the EMA recommendations.
Their actions were said to have shown favour to Taringana Housing Trust and disfavour to Youths in Business Housing Scheme.
In yet another case, involving the fraudulent creation and sale of a Strathaven stand that has already seen several others arrested and charged, Harare district officer Tutsirai Kanojerera will today appear in court for her bail ruling.
She, on Friday, appeared before Harare regional magistrate Trynos Utahwashe facing fraud and criminal abuse of office charges. Kanojerera is alleged to have connived with other city council officials and identified a land in Strathaven, Harare and sold it to an unsuspecting home seeker, Aaron Gomo.
Harare City Council is said to have lost US$14 400 while Gomo, according to the State, lost US$22 000 plus $8 694 in the process.