Friday, 27 October 2017

CHITOWN MAYOR TO FACE THE MUSIC, TOWN CLERK ACQUITTED

SUSPENDED Chitungwiza mayor Phillip Mutoti’s application for discharge on allegations of fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of duty was yesterday dismissed, while fired town clerk, George Makunde, who was also facing the same charges, was acquitted. Mutoti and the town’s former housing director Kennedy Dube, whose application for discharge was also thrown out, will now be put to their defence.

Mutoti, Makunde and Dube appeared before Chitungwiza resident magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo charged with fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of duty as public officers. Makunde was cleared of all the charges, while Mutoti and Dube were remanded to November 9. Makunde was being represented by Mr Tichaona Marume of Matsikidze and Mucheche Legal Practitioners.
Dube and Mutoti were represented by Mr Albert Nyikadzino of Nyikadzino, Simango and Associates and Mr Marufu Mandewere of Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners, respectively. In his ruling, Mr Mapfumo said the undisputed fact was that Nathan Mutoti, who is three years and a beneficiary of a residential stand, was son to Mutoti.

“He (Nathan) was allocated stand number 26008 in Unit C, Chitungwiza,” he said. “The lodgers’ card which was produced in court as exhibit number one shows that Nathan Mutoti was self-employed and was lodging at number 343 ST Mary’s in Chitungwiza.

“There is no way a three-year-old can be self-employed or be allocated a residential stand. The facts which were provided on behalf of Mutoti’s son showed that there was never in any way it was indicated that the State allocated a stand to someone else on behalf of Nathan. “His office is one that falls under the Ministry of Local Government (Public Works and National Housing) and, therefore, treated to be well acquainted to the policies governing State land.”

Mr Mapfumo said evidence on record showed that the stand in question was sold to Patience Tandiwe Chimbwe for $5 000. “As far as the court is concerned, the first accused person (Phillip Mutoti) has a case to answer,” he said. “The information on Nathan Mutoti is misleading to council. There is need for the accused person to explain that he did not abuse his position as the mayor.”

Mr Mapfumo said the State had failed to produce evidence that showed that Makunde acted in common purpose with either Mutoti or Dube.

“The evidenced produced in court does not show accused two (Makunde) was involved in the allocation of the stand,” he said. “It was brought to the attention of the court that the allocation of the stands was a duty that fell under the department of housing headed by a director of housing.
“No evidence was produced that he (Makunde) acted in common purpose with the other two accused. In my view, this simply means there is no evidence to prove a criminal charge against the second accused, therefore, there is no basis to place him at his defence. He is hereby discharged at the close of the State’s case.”

On Dube, Mr Mapfumo said the allocation of the stand in question happened during the time when he occupied the council office. herald

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