By Anesu Madiye
Former Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi yesterday appeared in court on criminal abuse of office charges after he was allegedly involved in a scam that prejudiced the city of land valued at US$80 million.
He appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who did not ask him to plead and he was denied bail.
The matter was remanded to December 6.
In denying him bail, Mugwagwa said Mahachi could abscond or flee the country if given bail as he was facing serious charges and had another pending case at the High Court
She said there was a possibility that Mahachi could interfere with witnesses involved in the matter.
Prosecuting, Mr Shepherd Makonde alleged that on May 30, 2008, City of Harare corruptly signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Augur Investments, a foreign company purportedly based in the Ukraine.
Mahachi, together with Michael Mahachi, who has already appeared in court facing the same charges, signed the agreements on behalf of City of Harare and Augur Investments.
The agreement was for the construction and upgrading of the then Airport Road at a cost of US$80 000 000.
According to the agreement, Augur Investments was to fund the project in exchange for land from the City of Harare in lieu of work done on the road.
The project was divided into four phases and was to be completed by 2010. They also agreed that title deeds for the piece of land to be transferred to Augur Investments be held in trust by Messrs Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, pending transfer upon certification of work done.
Mahachi being a public officer, acting in common purpose with the then Chairperson of the Commission for the City of Harare, Michael Mahachi, corruptly appointed Augur Investments to undertake the upgrading of the then Airport Road without following the procedure outlined in the Urban Councils Act and without inviting competitive bids for the project.
Investigations established that Augur Investments was not registered in Zimbabwe at the time of the agreement. It was later registered in Zimbabwe in 2010 after the life span of the alleged contract.
Augur Investments did not complete the project as it did not have the capacity to handle a project of such magnitude.
As a result, City of Harare suffered an actual prejudice of US$80 000 000, being value of land measuring 107, 5072 hectares which was transferred to Augur Investments.
Mahachi is facing another charge before the High Court of awarding tenders worth $32 million to companies that did not participate in the bidding process. The Herald