BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
MUZARABANI Rural District Council (RDC) chief executive officer Ennie Mapa Mutema (53) was arrested on Wednesday for criminal abuse of office by detectives from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) .
Mutema has since appeared before a Guruve magistrate who remanded him to October 4, 2021 on $10 000 bail.
It is alleged that in 2012, Muzarabani RDC, represented by Mutema, entered into an agreement with Varden Safaris to stop mining activities in the Mavhuradona Wilderness until 2036.
However, on July 7, 2015, Mutema allegedly entered into another agreement with Allen Mashumba, an Afrochine Smelting director, and gave the Chinese company rights to mine in the wildlife conservancy.
The arrangement resulted in a conflict of interest between Varden Safaris, who are into wildlife game breeding and botanical reserves, and Mashumba, who is into mining.
The mining activities compromised chances of attaining the Unesco World Heritage site status.
The accused allegedly signed the agreement knowing that they had a subsisting agreement with Varden Safaris which prohibited any mining, mineral panning or prospecting, human settlement, construction of any type within the wilderness.
The accused allegedly disregarded the fact that the area was declared a protected area, according to General Notice 369 of 1988 and a National Monument, according to Statutory Instrument 06 of 2017 and is awaiting World Heritage site status.
Mutema is also accused of not verifying if Mashumba was a genuine director or employee of Afrochine Smelting and this resulted in her signing an agreement with a bogus company.
In a related case, Guruve RDC chief executive officer Tinos Marisa (51) has also appeared in the same court for criminal abuse of duty.
Marisa was remanded to October 5, 2021 for possible trial on $5 000 bail.
It is alleged that on May 5, 2021, Marisa gave Labenmon Investments permission to carry out mining activities in the Mavhuradona wilderness, violating the agreement council had with Varden Safaris.
Meanwhile, Mudzi RDC chief executive officer Victor Nyamutswa and council’s human resources head Farai Mutambatuwisi, are expected to appear in court soon after they illegally awarded a 150% salary and allowance increment without a council resolution.