Mutare councillors granted bail


BY KENNETH NYANGANI/desmond chingarande
ELEVEN Mutare city councillors were on Thursday granted $40 000 bail each in a case where they face charges of abuse of office.

They appeared before provincial magistrate Richard Ramaboea after spending a night behind bars. Ramaboea postponed the matter to July 20.

The councillors were represented by Mutare lawyer Chris Ndlovu.

According to the State, the councillors reportedly inflated their allowance figures against a circular issued by the Local Government ministry.

“Accused 1 -12 are selected councillors of City of Mutare since September 2018 and council of Mutare for City of Mutare in terms of the urban council Act chapter 29:15 they are responsible of passing policies, making resolutions to be implemented by council management and other functions as dictated by the constitution and urban council act,” the State outline read in part.

“In terms of the circular dated 18 March, 2020, the travel and subsistence allowances for councillors shall be calculated in terms of the current government rates plus 50%.”

“On April 20, 2020, council in its regular full council meeting noted and adopted circular 12 of 2020 which had been received from the ministry of Local Government and Public Works whose subject was on allowances and perks.”

However, the councillors allegedly defied the directive and inflated their allowances.

In an unrelated case, 12 Norton councillors, including town secretary Kizito Muhomba, appeared before Harare magistrate Stanford Mambanje facing criminal abuse of office charges relating to the sale of residential stands for $30 per square metre.

They were granted $50 000 bail each, and remanded to August 28.

Allegations are that on December 3, 2019, the councillors recommended that stands ranging from 2 000 square metres to 5 199-square metres be sold to councillors and council management at $30 per square metre.

This was against an evaluation report from the Local Government ministry which pegged the residential stands at between US$8 to US$13 per square.

The State alleges that the councillors acted inconsistent with their duties as public officials as they discounted the price so as to favour themselves.

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