Former Marondera Town Clerk Josiah Musuwo and the town’s director of Works Christopher Chineka yesterday appeared in court facing three counts of criminal abuse of office after they allegedly illegally parcelled out stands to residents without Government’s approval.
They appeared before Marondera magistrate Ms Sharon Mashaira, who did not ask them to plead and remanded them in custody to Friday next week.
Prosecuting, Mr Lovemore Musariyarwa told the court that the two illegally sold land in Chitepo, Ruzawi and Cherutombo suburbs in Marondera valued at US$1 468 394.
“The accused persons’ responsibility was to make sure that proper procedures were followed before parcelling out land,” he said. “They unlawfully and intentionally did what was contrary to their duties as public officers by showing favour to few selected beneficiaries at the expense of council’s good administration and the people on the housing waiting list,” he said.
Mr Musariyarwa told the court that sometime in early May 2012 council decided to allocate infill land in Chitepo to the public on the waiting list.
The duo the lodged their layout plans with the Department of Physical Planning but instead of waiting for the department’s approval, they alleged originated a memorandum directing the stands to be sold to those who could afford to purchase them and not necessarily those on the housing waiting list.
On the second count, it is alleged that sometime in early September 2016, stand number 2840 Ruzawi Street in Marondera was repossessed from FML Oil Company by the municipality for non-compliance with the contract agreement and council decided to allocate the land to people on its waiting list.
Musuwo and Chineka caused the subdivision of the repossessed land into seven commercial stands and lodged their layout plan with the Department of Physical Planning. In mid-April 2017, they again originated a memorandum directing the land to be sold on first come first serve basis without the department’s response or approval by the responsible ministry.
On the third count, it is alleged that at the beginning of September 2004, council decided to use part of the golf course for commercial purposes.
The accused persons prepared a layout plan called CBD Extension, which was submitted to the Physical Planning Department for assessment.
It is alleged that the director of physical planning raised issues specified in the master plan, which states that before any development onn the golf course, a local development plan should be prepared first.
In early September 2015, the accused persons rushed to dispose of the commercial stands despite the objection by the Director of Physical Planning having not been addressed and with the full knowledge that local layout plan had not been approved and change of reservation had not been done.