Council officials charged over base station

Source: Council officials charged over base station | The Herald April 21, 2016

Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
Harare council Chamber Secretary Mrs Josephine Ncube and director of works Engineer Phillip Pfukwa, along with five other council employees, recently appeared in court accused of destroying a NetOne base station under construction along Borrowdale Road.

Ncube and Pfukwa appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court charged with malicious damage to property.

The two are facing charges of destroying a NetOne base station under construction by Bopela Group, a telecommunications company owned by Agrippa Bopela Masiyakurima.

Ncube and Pfukwa were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe.

They were granted $500 bail each.

They will be back in court on May 26 for trial and are expected to be jointly charged with Booker Masasi, Phibeon Jiriyengwa, Dennis Ushman Sithole, Josaya Chirara and Rutendo Chiduku.

Allegations leading to Ncube and Eng Pfukwa’s arrest are that sometime in January this year they authorised council employees to go and destroy the base station, which was under construction.

The court heard that on January 9 Masasi, Jiriyengwa, Sithole, Chirara and Chiduku approached Bopela and his employees who were constructing the base station along Borrowdale Road.

They allegedly ordered him to stop construction as it was not approved by the city council.

Masiyakurima and his employees reportedly disobeyed the order saying Masasi, who is the City of Harare’s land management and development manager, had verbally given them the greenlight to construct the base station while waiting for an application to be processed.

It is alleged that Masiyakurima’s reaction angered Masasi and his colleagues who then called for enforcement from other council employees.

The court heard that the council employees went to the scene aboard a 7-tonne lorry, four Toyota Hilux vehicles and a Mazda T35.

Masasi is reported to have ordered the council employees to pull down the construction work already undertaken.

The other employees reportedly started hurling stones at Masiyakurima’s employees and hit his car’s rear passenger door. Masiyakurima and his company are said to have suffered material damage estimated at $81 000.