By Patrick Chitumba
Former Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Jason Machaya yesterday failed to turn up to court for judgment in his case of criminal abuse of office amid indications that he was unwell after being operated on.
Machaya was supposed to know his fate first on July 30 but the matter was postponed to yesterday before it was further remanded to September 18 after he failed to attend court.
The court was told that Machaya is not feeling well after he recently went under the knife.
The kind of surgery he underwent and the reason for having it were not stated in court.
He is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly allocated and disposed of State land.
Trial magistrate Ms Charity Maphosa postponed the matter to September 18 for judgment. The former minister is out on $1 000 bail.
Machaya was supposed to have been put to his defence on August 21 last year after Ms Maphosa dismissed his application for discharge at the end of the State case.
The magistrate ruled that he had a case to answer and should be put to his defence but Machaya approached the High Court describing the decision of placing him on his defence as “grossly irregular”.
However, Harare High Court judge Justice Pisirayi Kwenda threw out the application saying it lacked merit.
The judge said the trial at the lower court had to be completed before Machaya could seek a review by a higher court or appeal.
The ex-minister was back in court from Monday last week to yesterday when he was put to his defence.
Machaya in his defence is arguing that he acted in delegated authority in his capacity as Midlands Minister of State.
The State’s case is that the accused intentionally allocated State land totalling 17 799 stands to developers which was inconsistent with his duties.
Prosecutors say Machaya did not have any lawful responsibility to allocate State land to the developers and entities, a lawful responsibility of the Minister of Local Government and Public Works. 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 could only be allocated and distributed by the Local Government Minister.
The accused person is also alleged to have also allocated 192 commonage stands to the Apostolic Christian Church of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) when he did not have lawful right to do so. The Chronicle