Maligwa’s trial kicks off

The Manica Post - - Local News - Love­more Kadzura Rusape Cor­re­spon­dent

THE trial of Mutare City Town Clerk Joshua Maligwa who is fac­ing charges of crim­i­nal abuse of duty com­mit­ted dur­ing his stint as the ac­count­ing of­fi­cer at Rusape Town Coun­cil kicked off last week with him en­ter­ing a plea of not guilty.

Maligwa (46) is be­ing jointly charged with out­go­ing RTC hous­ing di­rec­tor Lau­rence Mushayabasa (47). Maligwa was rep­re­sented by Mr Vic­tor Chin­zamba while Mr Tau­rai Khupe of Khupe Law Cham­bers rep­re­sented Mushayabasa.

The pair ar­gued the land in ques­tion was fraud­u­lently sold to Opleeves In­vest­ments by RTC as it be­longed to Makoni Ru­ral District Coun­cil.

How­ever Opleeves In­vest­ments di­rec­tor Mr Ray­mond Marova said he bought three in­dus­trial stands mea­sur­ing 18 000 square me­ters from RTC. He also said RTC ap­proved the com­pany’s plans to de­velop a ser­vice sta­tion, mo­tel and con­fer­ence cen­tre.

Mr Marova said when he ap­proached coun­cil en­quir­ing why they were re­pos­sess­ing his stands Maligwa wrote to him con­firm­ing that he was the right­ful owner of the land. Mr Marova said he was shocked by Maligwa and Mushayabasa’s con­duct to re­pos­sess and sub­di­vide the land with­out his knowl­edge and con­sent.

“We bought the three stands for Z$85 bil­lion and fully paid the pur­chase price of the land. We had three sep­a­rates Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for each piece of land. RTC ap­proved our plans for ser­vice sta­tion, mo­tel and con­fer­ence cen­tre and we com­menced con­struc­tion. Then arose the is­sue of 70 meter road servi­tude, part of our land is within the 70 me­ters of Harare-Mutare and Rusape-Wedza high­way. Coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion that they wanted to re-plan my stands so that we are com­pli­ant. There was no res­o­lu­tion to re­pos­sess and sub­di­vide our stands but the ac­cused per­sons went on to sub­di­vide them.

“We ap­proached coun­cil query­ing why they were do­ing this and ac­cused one (Maligwa) wrote a let­ter to us con­firm­ing the own­er­ship of the land but they con­tin­ued to sub­di­vide our land and sold it to other peo­ple,” ex­plained Mr Marova.

State pros­e­cu­tor Mr Tiri­vanhu Mutyasira told the court that Maligwa and Mushayabasa vi­o­lated Sec­tion 74 (1) (a) of the Crim­i­nal Law Cod­i­fi­ca­tion and Re­form Act Chap­ter 9:23, which makes it crim­i­nal for pub­lic of­fi­cers to abuse their of­fices and du­ties.

He added Maligwa and Mushayabasa abused their duty when they de­fied a full coun­cil res­o­lu­tion and went on to sub­di­vide Opleves In­vest­ments’ three stands. Maligwa also bought one of the sub­di­vided stands.

“On 30 July 2015 a reg­u­lar full coun­cil meet­ing noted that Opleves In­vest­ments in­dus­trial stands were within the 70 me­ters of the road servi­tudes con­trary to Gen­eral No­tice 466-2004 which pro­hibits new de­vel­op­ments along the Harare Mutare high­way within 70 me­ters from ei­ther sides of the road cen­tre.

“In view of the Gen­eral No­tice Coun­cil through res­o­lu­tion FCO 7-07-15 re­solved to re-plan the stands be­long­ing to Opleeves In­vest­ments so that they do not en­croach into the 70 me­ters servi­tude.

“Maligwa act­ing in con­cert with Mushayabasa who was the town plan­ner sub­di­vided the piece of land into smaller units for com­mer­cial pur­poses con­trary to coun­cil res­o­lu­tion FC0 7-07-15 dated 30 July 2015.

“On March 5, 2017 Maligwa ad­ver­tised the sale of com­mer­cial stands on the sub­di­vided piece of land owned by Opleves In­vest­ments in the Sun­day Mail and prospec­tive buy­ers re­sponded to the ad­vert.

“Some­time in 2017 Mushayabasa act­ing in com­mon pur­pose with Maligwa sold the sub­di­vided piece of land to in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies well know­ing that the land be­longs to Opleves In­vest­ments Pvt LTD.

“On 30 March 2017 Mushayabasa act­ing in con­cert with Maligwa al­lo­cated Maligwa com­mer­cial stand num­ber 7711 Wedza TurnOff, Rusape mea­sur­ing 1 331 square me­ters sit­u­ated on the sub­di­vided piece of land be­long­ing to Opleeves In­vest­ments.

“Maligwa and Mushayabasa omit­ted to com­ply with full coun­cil res­o­lu­tion 07-07-15 which was their duty as pub­lic of­fi­cers to do for the pur­pose of show­ing dis­favour to Opleves In­vest­ments and favour­ing Maligwa by al­lo­cat­ing him a com­mer­cial stand on a piece of land owned by Opleves In­vest­ments,” said Mr Mutyasira.

Mag­is­trate Mr Shane Kubon­era post­poned the mat­ter to March 27, 2018 for con­tin­u­a­tion of trial.

The state is ex­pected to call RTC chair­man Al­der­man Amon Chawasarira and his deputy Clr Evaristo Manyen­ga­vana as wit­nesses.

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