GWERU provincial magistrate Charity Maphosa yesterday dismissed former Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya’s application for a case in which he is co-charged with Midlands provincial planning officer, Chisainyerwa Chibururu, to be tried at the Gokwe courts.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Machaya (65) and Chibururu (47) are facing criminal abuse of office charges and are alleged to have fraudulently acquired stands in Mupfungautsi, Gokwe.
The two, through their lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Ambrose Dururu, had requested that the trial be referred to Gokwe, arguing that the Gweru Magistrates’ Court had no jurisdiction over the matter.
In her ruling, Maphosa said Gokwe was in the Midlands province, hence it was within the confines of the law for the trial to be heard in the Midlands capital.
She remanded the matter to October 24, when the defence counsel indicated they wanted to make further applications in the case.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2013, the Gokwe Town Council requested for 3 000 residential stands around Mapfungautsi Extension from the Local Government ministry and the request was granted.
Machaya, as chairperson of the provincial lands committee, allegedly made a request of commonage allocation from the 3 000 stands, which entitled him to receive 10% of the allocated stands in line with the Commonage Law.
The State further alleges that during the period between 2011 and 2017, Machaya abused his power by demanding an allocation of 1 000 residential stands knowing that he was supposed to get 300.
As a result, Gokwe Town Council lost revenue in respect of 700 stands. It is further alleged that Machaya hired a private land developer, Striations World Marketing Property Developers, to service the land in question.
In a related matter, Maphosa on Wednesday ruled that Machaya, who is on $1 000 bail together with Mashonaland West provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo, Gweru district administrator Sherpard Marweyi and five other senior government officials from the Local Government ministry, Midlands province, who are facing charges of abuse of office, had a case to answer.
Maphosa said Machaya, Chitiyo (50), who is the former PA for Midlands province, Matilda Manhambo (59), Marweyi (48), Sifelani Moyo (59), Ethel Mlalazi (65), Chibururu (47) and Everest Nyamadzawo (33) will be tried from November 12 to 16.
Chitiyo and the five other accused persons are all on $200 bail.
Clemence Chimbari prosecuted.