VICTORIA Falls Housing and Community Services director, Lot Siatimbula, who was charged with criminal abuse of office has been slapped with a 12-month jail term and a fine of $500, failure of which he will spend five months behind bars.
BY SILAS NKALA
Siatimbula was convicted of illegally allocating a housing stand to his brothers’ son without council approval.
He was represented by lawyer Zibusiso Ncube and he denied the charges when he appeared before Victoria Falls Magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa.
Siatimbula was accused of unprocedurally handling of a residential stand in Victoria Falls in respect of his brother’s son, Sena Mumpande, where he made misrepresentations to council about the stand and attempted to coerce the chamber secretary Kholwani Mangena to process an agreement of sale and later tried to reverse the process.
Mumpande was supposed to buy the housing stand in question, stand number 1585 measuring 3 300 square metres, at 25% of all costs excluding 15% value added tax, meaning he was to pay $15 815 out of a total of $48 410.
The State argued that Siatimbula violated Section 4(D) (1) of the Victoria Falls Municipality Code of Conduct, thereby making him liable to a criminal charge of abuse of office as a public officer.
Mumpande joined council as a general hand in May last year and wasn’t eligible for the 25% incentive meant for officials who would have served for two years.
Siatimbula paid $15 815 for the stand on December 2 last year and wrote to Mangena on January 6 instructing her to draw an agreement of sale alleging that Mumpande had an offer letter.
The chamber secretary picked the anomaly and alerted town clerk Ronnie Dube, leading to Siatimbula’s suspension on February 14 this year. Siatimbula, whose suspension is without pay and benefits, pleaded not guilty to the charges, alleging he is being victimised because of bad blood between him and the town clerk, as some senior council officials had also benefited similarly. He said his nephew qualified for the scheme just like other senior officials (names given).
Council said Siatimbula corruptly allocated the stand to Mumpande and concealed the transaction in violation of Section 144 of the Urban Councils Act which compelled him to declare interest since the beneficiary was a relative.
The council stated that BB7 is a unique scheme with unique guidelines and people not on waiting list were considered, provided they met other requirements and could pay $10 500 in five days.