ED prosecutor bunks Harare City bosses trial

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The trial of former City of Harare commission chairpersons Sekesai Makwavarara, Michael Mahachi and former town clerk Tendai Mahachi, who are facing charges of awarding Augur Investment Company a contract without due process, failed to kick off yesterday after the special prosecutor failed to turn up.

Makwavarara (61), Michael and Tendai Mahachi appeared before magistrate Hosea Mujaya and the matter was postponed to July 11 for trial.

The matter is being handled by Zivanai Macharaga of the anti-corruption special prosecution unit in the office of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Allegations are that sometime in 2007, City of Harare planned to construct and upgrade Airport Road and on June 22, 2007, Makwavarara, acting in common purpose with Tendayi and Michael
Mahachi, who are already in remand in connection with this matter, caused City of Harare to enter into a memorandum of agreement (MoU)) with Augur Investments without council resolution
and without following tender procedures.

It is alleged that Makwavarara and his accomplices signed the MoU representing the City of Harare, while Augur was represented by Olexander Sheremet. The MOU was signed by Makwavarara
in connivance with her accomplice and Tendai Mahachi representing council.

The State avers that on September 4, 2007, Makwavarara and her accomplices entered into a shareholders agreement and MoU on May 21 2008 with Augur Investments, a foreign based company
purportedly based in Ukraine. The agreements were for the construction and upgrading of Airport Road at a cost of $80 million.

According to the agreements, Augur Investments was to fund and provide the expertise for the project with the City of Harare ceding pieces of land to the company. The project was
allegedly divided into four phases and was to be completed in 2010.

The shareholders agreed that the title deeds of the land were to be held in trust by Messrs Coghlan Welsh and Guest, pending transfer upon completion and certification of work done.

Makwavarara acting in cahoots with her accomplices hatched a plan to violate the provisions of the law and engaged Augur Investments, a company which was not registered in Zimbabwe
under the Companies Act and under the Zimbabwe Investment Authority (Zia) at the time of the agreement.

The company was later registered in 2010 after the lifespan of the alleged contract had expired. The engagement of Augur Investments by the accuse persons was a violation of the Urban Councils Act.

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