By Mashudu Netsianda
Former Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Gift Banda has been arrested for allegedly abusing his position through unprocedurally processing a lease agreement in respect of a piece of land under the name of an unregistered company purportedly owned by his daughter.
During his tenure of office, Banda allegedly influenced the process and corruptly acquired the stand measuring 3,82 hectares on behalf of Entertainment Headquarters purportedly owned by his daughter, Samantha and one Saimon Mambazo.
Banda (49), who is now MDC Alliance MP for Njube-Lobengula and Bulawayo party provincial chairperson, residing in Burnside suburb, yesterday appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Ms Adelaide Mbeure facing a charge of Criminal Abuse of Duty as a Public Officer or alternatively Fraud as defined in section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
He was remanded out of custody to February 1, 2019, on $100 bail.
As part of bail conditions, Banda was ordered to reside at his given address and not interfere with State witnesses until the matter is finalised.
Prosecuting, Mr Nkathazo Dlodlo said between January 2014 and December 2015, Banda, during his tenure as Deputy Mayor, allegedly ganged up with unnamed accomplices who were members of a sub-committee of the Bulawayo City Council and they corruptly processed a lease agreement for stand number 187964 Bulawayo Township on behalf of Entertainment Headquarters for the construction of a social club situated between 2nd and 4th Avenue along Samuel Parirenyatwa Street.
The company, purportedly owned by Banda’s daughter and Mambazo, was not registered at the material time of the signing of the lease agreement.
The court heard that Banda corruptly used his position as Deputy Mayor to acquire the lease without going through the normal tender process.
“When Entertainment Headquarters corruptly obtained the lease it was not yet registered with the Registrar of Companies,” said Mr Dlodlo.
However, the company registered with the authorities a year later after obtaining the lease agreement.
According to Circular Number 3 of 2015, councillors, including mayors and council chairpersons, have a special facility allowing them to buy a residential stand at 40 percent discount on the purchase price but provided they would not have been previously allocated a stand.
They are also entitled to acquire a commercial stand at full costs during their tenure of office. The Chronicle