By Patrick Chitumba
The State has closed its case in the trial of former Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Jason Machaya, who is facing abuse of office allegations.
Machaya appeared before Gweru provincial Magistrate, Ms Charity Maphosa, facing allegations that he allocated and disposed of State land which was unlawful.
Machaya, who is on $1 000 bail, pleaded not guilty and was remanded to August 21 for his defence.
He said he acted in delegated authority in his capacity as Midlands Minister of State.
Machaya said as the then Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs – he was entitled to 10 percent of stands developed on State land which is in line with the Commonage Law and the “annexation” of the stands in question was within the parameters of the law.
The State’s case was that the accused, intentionally allocated State land totalling 17 799 stands to land developers which was inconsistent with his duties.
Prosecutors say Machaya did not have any lawful responsibility to allocate State land to the said developers and entities as the allocation of the said land was the sole function and lawful responsibility of the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
The accused person, the court heard, further received 1 791 commonage stands from the said land developers and entities which constituted 18 percent of the total stands on the allocated State land.
It is further alleged that Machaya sold 1 185 of the commonage stands which was also inconsistent with his duties as the stands can only be allocated and distributed by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
The accused person is also alleged to have also allocated 192 commonage stands to Apostolic Christian Church of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) when he did not have lawful right or function.
Mr Clemence Chimbari appeared for the State. The Chronicle