MDC-T man jailed for $200 000 swin­dle

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Wal­ter Mswazie

FOR­MER Masvingo Ur­ban MDC-T coun­cil­lor Misheck Ga­pare has been slapped with an ef­fec­tive two years in jail for swin­dling two hous­ing co­op­er­a­tives of 50 res­i­den­tial stands worth about $200 000.

Ga­pare who was Ward 8 coun­cil­lor and chair­man for pub­lic works port­fo­lio con­verted 50 res­i­den­tial stands re­ceived on the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s be­half into his own use some­time in 2012.

Aleck Muchade­hama of Mbizvo, Muchade­hama and Makoni law firm rep­re­sented the for­mer coun­cil­lor.

Ga­pare pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud­u­lently ac­quir­ing 50 res­i­den­tial stands be­fore Masvingo mag­is­trate Mr Lang­ton Ndok­era on Fri­day.

He was how­ever, con­victed due to over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence and sen­tenced to two years on each count for fraud.

Mr Ndok­era sus­pended two years for five years on con­di­tion of good be­hav­iour.

He or­dered Ga­pare to re­turn the 50 stands to Vashandi Hous­ing Co­op­er­a­tive and Re­main­der of Vic­to­ria Ranch Con­sor­tium.

De­liv­er­ing sen­tence Mr Ndok­era said there were glar­ing facts that sup­ported the State case which the ac­cused could not con­test sat­is­fac­to­rily. He said Ga­pare was sup­posed to act in a fair man­ner as he held pub­lic of­fice at the time he com­mit­ted the crime.

“The ac­cused failed to con­test the state case sat­is­fac­to­rily. All the state wit­nesses gave cred­i­ble ev­i­dence. By con­vert­ing all the res­i­den­tial stands into your own use, you showed greed­i­ness and you be­trayed res­i­dents who ex­pected you to be­have re­spon­si­bly as an elected coun­cil­lor,” said Mr Ndok­era. For the State Mr Tavonga Musina said in Jan­uary 2012 Vashandi Hous­ing co-op­er­a­tive Chair­man Mr God­dard Du­nira and Mr Welling­ton Mah­wende of Re­main­der of Vic­to­ria Ranch Con­sor­tium pledged 50 res­i­den­tial stands to Masvingo City Coun­cil. “The stands were sup­posed to be dis­trib­uted to Masvingo City coun­cil­lors and coun­cil em­ploy­ees. Ga­pare then sup­plied a list con­tain­ing names he claimed to be of coun­cil­lors and coun­cil em­ploy­ees. It was then re­alised that on the list there were no coun­cil em­ploy­ees, nei­ther were there coun­cil­lors,” said Mr Musina.

Ga­pare took the 50 res­i­den­tial stands and con­verted them into his own use, Mr Musina said.

e court heard that af­ter dis­cov­er­ing the stands had not reached the in­tended ben­e­fi­cia­ries, Messrs Du­nira and Mah­wende of­fered an­other 40 res­i­den­tial stands to Masvingo City as ful­fil­ment of the prom­ise they had made to the lo­cal au­thor­ity.

The court heard that as a re­sult Messrs Du­nira and Mah­wende suf­fered an ac­tual prej­u­dice of $200 000 and noth­ing was re­cov­ered.

The ma­jor­ity of MDC-T coun­cil­lors in ur­ban ar­eas are in­volved in cases of un­der­hand land deals with the lat­est be­ing of Bu­l­awayo City deputy mayor Gift Banda and four other coun­cil­lors.

Clr Banda and his four col­leagues have since been sus­pended on al­le­ga­tions of il­le­gally par­celling and ac­quir­ing land.

Other coun­cil­lors im­pli­cated in sim­i­lar scams are in Chi­tung­wiza and Mutare.— @ wal­terbm­swazie2.

A man looks at a heav­ily pol­luted stream that flows past Lot­she Pri­mary School in Bu­l­awayo. The stream is fast fill­ing up with grass and lit­ter (Pic­ture by Den­nis Mudza­miri)

Misheck Ga­pare

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