By Lovemore Meya
Chitungwiza town clerk George Makunde yesterday nailed suspended mayor Phillip Mutoti in a case the MDC-T politician stands accused of illegally acquiring a residential stand for his three-year-old son.
Allegations are that Makunde and the former housing director Kennedy Dube assisted Mutoti to acquire the stand.
The trio appeared before Chitungwiza resident magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo facing fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of duty as public officers charges.
They were remanded out of custody to August 22.
In his defence, Makunde told the court that he instigated an investigation through the council audit manager, leading to exposure of illegal land dealings.
“I instituted an investigation through council’s audit manager on the allocation of stands after having received numerous complaints on the same,”said Makunde.
“In the report I compiled, it was noted that there were irregularities in the allocation of stands, including Nathan Mutoti’s stand.
“Further, the issuing of the stand was done through the Housing Department which is fully manned by staff complement and is not the town clerk’s duty to allocate stands.
“I also deny abusing my duty in the allocation of the stand as I had no role to play in the allocation of the stand in question.”
Mutoti said the allegations were vague.
“The allegations are vague, embarrassing and the facts themselves do not constitute an offence known at law,” he said.
“The facts in the charge sheet and the alternative are confusing and further embarrassing.
“I was allocated the stand by Chitungwiza Municipality as a condition of service and in line with Circular Number CX/ 6 /1, I opted for the stand to be registered in my son’s name and did not misrepresent anything to council.”
Dube denied the charges, saying he never authored the lodger’s card in the name of Nathan Mutoti.
The first State witness Mr Everest Nyamadzawo, a principal administrative officer in the department of Urban State Land office under the Ministry of Local Government, National Housing and Public Works, said the allocation was unprocedural.
“According to the Stand Land Act Management Manual, it is an offence to allocate a residential stand to a minor below the age of 18 years,” he said.
“Chitungwiza Municipality does not own land, but administers it on behalf of Government.
“Part one of the manual states that whoever is issued a stand should complete an application form and in this case, a three-year-old cannot fill a form.
“The only circumstances for a three-year-old to own a stand is mainly through a deceased estate.”
Mr Nyamadzawo dismissed Mutoti’s assertion that he gave the stand to his son, while Makunde and Dube were supposed to have ascertained the application before issuing the stand.
Ms Tafadzwa Makwande prosecuted. The Herald