By Zvikomborero Parafini
Harare City town planner Priscilla Charumbira, wife to Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira, was yesterday remanded in custody to today pending the court’s determination on her application for refusal of placement on remand.
Charumbira was not asked to plead when she appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Bianca Makwande.
Charumbira, through her lawyer Professor Lovemore Madhuku, opposed the State’s application to place her on remand arguing that the State, in its request for remand form, failed to raise reasonable suspicion that an offence was committed.
“The grounds for opposing the application for placement on remand is that no reasonable suspicion has been raised that an offence was committed, the facts don’t constitute the offence of criminal abuse of office.
“The State has attached a document that wasn’t even signed by the accused person alleging that she signed it yet it was signed by Nyabezi who was the city planner by then,” said Madhuku.
He also led evidence from Charumbira who told the court that she never approved the allocation of the land in question but confirmed that her initials appear on the plan not because she approved but merely because she checked it and because of that, prosecutor George Manokore argued that reasonable suspicion was raised and issues arising could only be dealt with during trial.
The State alleges that a piece of land located at the corner of Boshoff Road and Seke Road also known as remainder of Salisbury Township and measuring three hectares and reserved for recreational purposes by the Harare City Council.
In 2016, Charumbira, in her capacity as the town planner and knowing laws regarding change of reservation of property in question, acted contrary to her duties by unlawfully supervising planning and later subdivision of the land from recreational to commercial without the approval of the ministry of local government.
George Manokore and Sheila Mpindu appeared for the State. H-Metro