Pair on trial over Rusape land deal

The criminal abuse of office trial of former Rusape Town Secretary, now Mutare City Clerk, Joshua Maligwa and former Housing Director Lawrence Mushayabasa continued on Wednesday at the Rusape Magistrates Court.

Shingirai Vambe

Maligwa and Mushayabasa are facing allegations of sub dividing land which belonged to Director of Oplives Investment, the Raymond Marowa, during their tenure at Rusape Town Council.

The two men pleaded not guilty to the charge when they initially appeared before Rusape Magistrate, Shane Kubonera as their trial commenced on March 8, 2018
The duo appeared again before Rusape District Magistrate, Shane Kubonera, and the State represented by the district prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasira.

On the first day, Marowa took to the witness stand and told the court that the land was subdivided and sold to individuals but, did not see the advert regarding the subdivision of the stands.

Marowa said he later saw an advert of the selling of the land which made him report the case to the police and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).

In his defence through his lawyer Victor Chinzamba, Maligwa, told the court that the land in question belonged to Makoni Rural District Council, and it was fraudulently sold to Marowa by the previous Rusape Town Council administration in 2008.

Taurai Khupe is representing Mushayabasa in the matter.

According to the evidence presented in court, the local authority only became the owner of the land after the Presidential proclamation Act of 2013. The court heard, when the land was sold to Marowa, it had no lay-out plan, but the plan was done by Never Besa, former Rusape town planner after the passing of the resolution in 2016.

“My construction was stopped by Ministry of Road officer, Rakabopa after noticing that my construction was within the 70m servitude requested in the National Highways for dualisation purposes of the 2004 Highway Roads Amendment Act, I approached the local authority for re-planning, which didn’t happen and here we are today” Marowa said.

The second witness, council chairman Amon Chawasarira, confirmed and admitted that a full council resolution was passed, for subdividing and re-planning of the land, adding he was not present at some meetings regarding the land in questions.

Chawasarira told the court that it was wrong to accuse the duo when they were just office bearers who were implement ing what had been agreed in the full council meetings.
The court also heard that the current town secretary, Solomon Gabaza, was the one who had sold the stands on the said land and this was confirmed by papers submitted to court bearing his signatures and council stamp.

The matter was postponed to April 9, 2018 when the last witness; Alderman Everisto Manyengavana is expected to testify.

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