Thursday, 28 May 2020

MUTARE BIGWIGS IN US$500 000 STANDS SCAM


FORMER Mutare Town Clerk — Mr Obert Muzawazi — is facing charges of siphoning more than US$500 000 from the local authority in a stands scandal that also involves two other suspended senior council officials.

Messrs Muzawazi, Isdore Conelous Bingura and Ms Christian Sithole were last week arraigned before Mutare provincial magistrate, Mr Tendai Mahwe, facing nine counts of criminal abuse of office charges.

They were granted $1 000 bail each and were ordered to come back to court on June 30.

Mr Mahwe also advised them not to interfere with State witnesses and to continue residing at their given addresses. 

Mr Tirivanhu Mutyasira prosecuted, while Mr Chris Ndlovu of Gonese and Ndlovu Legal Practitioners represented the trio.

Mr Mutyasira said the three abused their powers as public officers to rip-off the local authority.

“The three accused persons were employed by the City of Mutare, with Muzawazi being the Town Clerk. Bingura was the para-legal clerk and Sithole was the senior committee officer,” he said.

“The three suspects hatched a plan to abuse the powers invested in their offices as public officials to sell and allocate residential stands without following proper procedures of stands allocation as enshrined in the Urban Councils’ Act. 

“Acting in connivance, the three originated agreement of sale documents for nine stands.

“The suspects flouted the council procedures of acquiring stands and Mutare City Council suffered a prejudice of US$532 850,57. Nothing was recovered,” said Mr Mutyasira.

But Mr Ndlovu said the charges laid against his clients were “laughable”, since some of the stands have already been developed, with the beneficiaries paying rates to council.

“The beneficiaries of the said stands paid directly to council and were issued with receipts. How then was council prejudiced?” he argued. Manica Post

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