Acting Town Planner Awaits Bail Ruling

Acting Harare city planner Fani Machipisa is expected in court today for bail ruling after spending the weekend behind bars when Magistrate Mr Ngoni Nduna remanded him in custody.

Mrs Constance Ngombengombe opposed bail, saying he was likely going to interfere with witnesses since investigations were still in their infancy.

The State also said Machipisa was likely to abscond once freed since there is overwhelming evidence against him.

Through his lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Machipisa told the court that he wanted his day in court to clear his name as the State does not have enough evidence.

“The investigating officer admitted that investigations are at infancy meaning he didn’t have enough evidence to say there is a case. He admitted that he wanted to be fair to the accused. The State cannot tell, at this point whether the case is weak or not. On his second count, the State conceded that it will have one witness, George Mukodzi, who was arrested with the accused.

Machipisa is accused of parcelling out stands without following due process.

He is facing two counts of criminal abuse of office.

It is the State’s case that in 2018 between June 19 and 22, Machipisa allocated fictitious stands in Mabelreign with an unknown layout plan to prospective home-seekers who were not on the City of Harare waiting list.

Machipisa, as the acting director of Housing and Community Services, allegedly took advantage of the absence of the director who was attending a week-long workshop to fast-track the allocation process.

Upon the return of the director of housing and community services from the workshop in Kadoma, Machipisa did not report the allocation, the court heard, and this was with the intent to conceal this development.

The purported stands 7246-7250 and 7253-7262 did not exist in the City of Harare stand number register and all processes were fast-tracked on the same day Friday 22 June 2018.

The court heard that the purported stand number 7249 was allocated to Knowell Katiyo who is said to have applied to join the housing waiting list in September 2005 when he was a juvenile aged 13, contrary to the City of Harare housing allocation policy.

On the second count, the court heard that sometime in September this year, Machipisa directed George Mukodzi, who is the district officer for Mufakose to halt work in progress at Lot 2 of subdivision B of subdivision A of Willowvale Township, which was procedurally allocated to Youth in Business Trust by the State.

It is alleged that Machipisa ordered that an earth-moving machine which was carrying out development leave the site.

He allegedly indicated that the documents given to Youth in Business by the local authority for land ownership were fake and that the land in question was owned by City of Harare and allocated to Taringana Housing Consortium.

The court heard that Machipisa indicated that there was a court order granted in favour of Taringana Housing Consortium, well knowing that Youth in Business had been given the ownership by the State as it was State land.

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