By Patrick Chitumba
The trial of former Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Jason Machaya, Mashonaland West provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo and six other senior Government officials facing allegations of illegally allocating State land, is expected to start on Thursday.
Machaya (65), Chitiyo (50), who is also the former PA for the Midlands province, Matilda Manhambo (59), Sherpard Marweyi (48), Sifelani Moyo (59), Ethel Mlalazi (65), Chisainyerwa Chibhururu (47) and Everest Nyamadzawo (33) last week appeared before Bulawayo regional magistrate Mrs Sibongile Msipa-Marondedze facing charges of illegally allocating more than 11 000 stands to land developers.
They are also facing criminal abuse of office charges.
Mrs Msipa-Marondedze who ruled against the accused’s application for stay of prosecution, said she moved the trial to Thursday to allow the High Court time to make a determination on her ruling.
“The defence last Monday made an application for permanent stay of prosecution which the court ruled against. The defence then applied for postponement of the matter to another date so they could apply for review of the court’s ruling at the High Court. The matter is therefore remanded to March 14,” she said.
Machaya is out on $1 000 bail while Chitiyo, Manhambo, Marweyi, Moyo, Mlalazi, Chibhururu and Nyamadzawo are out on $200 bail each.
It is the State’s case that Chitiyo, who was the PA for Midlands province, allegedly allocated State land totalling 4 469 stands to land developers by co-signing offer letters for the State land with Machaya.
Manhambo, who was the provincial projects officer under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, allegedly allocated 2 000 stands to land developers and entities working in cahoots with Machaya.
Similarly, Marweyi, who is the district administrator for Gweru, allegedly allocated 5 199 stands to land developers also working in cahoots with Machaya.
Nyamadzawo, who is an administrative officer, is accused of unlawfully writing a survey instruction letter to the Surveyor-General, instructing his office to nominate a surveyor for the State land, knowing fully well that Government had not allocated that land.
Survey instructions, the State argues, can only be written in respect of State land allocated to persons and entities by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
Chibhururu, Moyo and Mlalazi are facing abuse of office charges.
Mr Andrew Kumire is representing the State. The Chronicle