Ex-Council Bigwigs’ Trials to Run Concurrently

The trial of former Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi, former caretaker chairperson of the commission running the City of Harare Sekesai Makwavarara, and the then chairperson of the commission Michael Mahachi, will run from March 25 to 28.

The three are accused of corruptly awarding Augur Investment Company a contract for the construction and upgrading of Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Expressway, then known as Airport Road, at a cost of US$80 million without following due process.

The three appeared before regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya last week, who remanded them to March 25 for trial commencement.

Representing the State, Mr Zivanai Macharaga alleged that on May 30, 2008, City of Harare corruptly signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Augur Investments, a foreign company purportedly based in Ukraine.

The trio signed the agreements on behalf of the City of Harare.

The agreement was for the construction and upgrading of the road.

According to the agreement, Augur Investments was to fund the project in exchange for land from the City of Harare in lieu of work done on the road. The project was divided into four phases and was to be completed by 2010.

They also agreed that title deeds for the piece of land to be transferred to Augur Investments be held in trust by Messrs Coghlan, Welsh and Guest, pending transfer upon certification of work done.

Tendai Mahachi, being a public officer, acting in common purpose with the duo, corruptly appointed Augur Investments to undertake the upgrading of the road without following the procedure outlined in the Urban Councils Act and without inviting competitive bids for the project.

It is alleged that Augur Investments did not complete the project as it did not have the capacity to handle a project of such a magnitude.

As a result, City of Harare was prejudiced of US$80 million.

Source : The Herald

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