Nyore Madzianike-Senior Court Reporter
Public servants have also allegedly been engaged in illegal stand allocations, along with local government councillors and officials, with four senior officials of the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works appeared in court last Friday charged with recommending to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary allocations of residential stands to 10 people not on the waiting list.
Andrew Rhory Shawatu, Nyarai Priscilla Mudzinge, Leah Chigoma and Daisy Mtyambizi, appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court last Friday charged with criminal abuse of office.
Shawatu was the principal administration officer State Lands, with Mudzinge being the director local authorities, while Chimoga was acting director legal and Mtyambizi being deputy director spatial planning.
They were not asked to plead when they appeared before regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje, who remanded them in custody to today for continuation of the hearing of their bail applications.
The charges relate to alleged attempts to convert the land set aside by Sally Mugabe Heights Housing Cooperative for public use to residential stands. The co-operative was offered 760 hectares of residential stands at Acom Farm through an offer letter dated January 7, 2005, by the Local Government Ministry.
On July 15, 2005, the Department of Physical Planning, as required by the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act, approved a layout plan of a housing scheme called Acom Estate. By law the ministry had to retain 10 percent which could only be allocated by the Minister of Local Government. This block of land, something that is standard in all layouts, is to ensure that there is land for schools, health services, recreation and other public needs and is compulsory in all suburb developments, public and private, but other public needs can also be considered.
Investigations carried out revealed that sometime between 2010 and April 2011 the four allegedly connived and wrote a memorandum to the Permanent Secretary recommending the allocation of residential stands in Acom disregarding the dictates of the State Land Management Manual Part 2.
They allegedly allocated to the people who were not on general waiting list or priority list.
It is alleged that the Permanent Secretary acted upon the misrepresentation and approved stands to nearly 10 people who were not on waiting list.