Gweru mayor trial date set

Source: Gweru mayor trial date set | The Herald May 24, 2016

Gweru provincial magistrate Phathekile Msipa has set Thursday as the trial date for Gweru mayor Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi and town clerk Daniel Matawu after dismissing an application by prosecutors to delay the proceedings.

The two stand accused of criminal abuse of office, theft and fraud involving $8 733 after using ratepayers funds to finance MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s sojourn to Gweru.

Msipa set May 26 as the trial date after refusing an application by the State for further remand.

Kombayi and Matawu were initially charged together with the late deputy mayor, Clr Artwell Matyorauta, who died last month due to a heart problem. The trio were out of custody on $200 bail each.

In making the further remand application, the State led by Lloyd Mabhiza, said it needed time to redraft the charge sheet following Clr Matyorauta’s death.

Msipa said the deputy mayor’s death could not be used as an excuse to delay the trial.

She said if the trial failed to kick off on May 26, the matter will proceed by way of summons.

“The death of second accused person is not a basis for the State to seek further remand. If the trial fails to kick off on May 26, further remand would be refused and the State will proceed by way of summons,” said Msipa.

Prosecuting, Mabhiza told the court that between July 31, 2013, and June 30 last year, acting in common purpose, the three city fathers abused rate payers’ funds by making unlawful payments for non-council business to meet expenses for their private activities and functions.

“During that period the accused persons made a payment of $1 875 to Antelope Park and Resort and Fairmile Motel using ratepayers’ funds to meet expenses for Morgan Tsvangirai and his entourage’s private function,” he said.

Mabhiza said the trio made an unauthorised payment of $6 858 to Fairmile and Village lodge using rate payers’ funds bringing the total amount to $8 733.