FORMER Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Machaya, who is co-charged with ex-Midlands provincial planning officer, Chisainyerwa Chibururu, for criminal abuse of office yesterday said he was being politically persecuted, arguing that allegations against him were “cooked up”.
BY Stephen Chadenga
Machaya (65) and Chibururu (47) are alleged to have fraudulently acquired stands in the Mapfungautsi residential area of Gokwe.
But under cross examination from State counsel Machaya said he was “simply” carrying out government housing projects, which his principals during that time appreciated.
“It came as a surprise to me that housing projects in the Midlands that I led much to the satisfaction of my principals, including the President (late Robert Mugabe), were now used years later to incriminate me,” he said.
“It is against this background that I can only conclude that there is politics at play. I benefited nothing as an individual for carrying out government housing projects.”
Provincial magistrate Charity Maphosa said she would deliver judgment on July 30 after the defence counsel closed its case at the end of trial yesterday.
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 law of commonage.
The State further alleges that between 2011 and 2017, Machaya abused his office powers and demanded 1 000 residential stands well knowing that he was supposed to only get 300 stands.
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