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Gweru City Council director arrested

By Patrick Chitumba

Gweru City Council’s director of housing and community services, Shingirayi Tigere has been arrested for criminal abuse of office.

Tigere was arrested on Wednesday by the police working with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) over the manner in which he allegedly sold a stand to Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe last year.

The stand which is listed as the remainder of Lot number 17 of Umsungwe block, was allegedly sold to Clr Makombe without approval from the engineering department.

The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works said the stand is in a reserved area and acquisition by Clr Makombe without change of land use contravened Section 49 (3) of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12).

After selling the stand, Tigere allegedly then sought Ministerial approval for change of ownership, a process which Gweru Council ought to have started with.

It is council standard operating procedure that the engineering department first surveys the land before recommending its use.

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In this case, Tigere allegedly sold the stand to Clr Makombe without the engineering department’s approval.

In addition, there was no ministerial approval of change of use of the land in question as is standard procedure.

Tigere is expected to appear in court today.

His lawyer, Mr Esau Mandipa of Mutatu and Mandipa Legal Practice confirmed his client’s arrest.

He said Tigere was being charged with criminal abuse of office as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

“I can confirm that my client was arrested by the police in connection with a stand that he allegedly sold to the Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe.

“They alleged that he didn’t follow some procedures. He is expected to appear in court tomorrow (today),” said Mr Mandipa.

According to documents in possession of this publication, Tigere offered Clr Makombe the stand on May 13 last year following a full council meeting which recommended that he be sold the stand at 40 percent discount.

“I am pleased to offer you stand number Remainder of Lot number 17 of Umsungwe block measuring 7 801square metres. The stand is not serviced. The cost price of the stand is $166 735.00. The purchase price after factoring in 40 percent discount amounting to $66 694.14 is $100 041.00,” wrote Tigere.

However, on June 23 last year, the then City of Gweru director of engineering services Engineer Robson Manatsa wrote to council saying the alleged land was subject to planning.

Tigere therefore allegedly showed favour to Clr Makombe by selling him the stand which was still subject to planning. The Chronicle