Lovemore Meya Court Correspondent
Former Chitungwiza Municipality acting housing director Kennedy Dube yesterday turned on his co-accused, suspended mayor Phillip Mutoti, saying he processed an offer letter for a residential stand for the latter’s three-year-old son on the basis of an “instruction” from the town clerk. Dube said this during their defence case before Chitungwiza resident magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo.
The duo is accused of fraud or alternatively criminal abuse of duty as public officers. During cross-examination by his lawyer, Mr Albert Nyikadzino of Nyikadzino, Simango and Associates, Dube said the details which were brought before him were deceiving.
“I was called to the mayor’s office where he was with (former) town clerk (George Makunde) and I was handed a lodger’s card with the instruction that the mayor requested his stand to be put in his son’s name,” said Dube.
“The lodger’s card, which I was handed had already been signed by our housing clerk, Mr Mujekure. It was a tradition, which I inherited at council that clerks signed lodger’s cards. I then processed the offer letter for Nathan Mutoti through my juniors and the town clerk never mentioned the age of the beneficiary. I deny the issue of connivance with the first accused because the age of the beneficiary was never disclosed to me and a processed lodger’s card does not provide a provision for such.
“I acted on the instruction of my superior after, which the information provided indicated that Nathan was self-employed.” Asked whether Nathan was eligible for a stand, Dube said: “Self-employment applies to an adult who is either self-employed to fend for his family and this cannot apply to a minor, that is deceiving.” Mutoti had earlier stated that he was clueless on who processed information on his son’s lodger’s card after being questioned by his lawyer, Mr Marufu Mandevere of Kadzere, Hungwe and Mandevere Legal Practitioners.
“I did not acquire this stand unlawfully, but it was given to me as my benefit as a mayor and it is stated in the circular from the ministry that we should get three stands — residential, commercial and industrial. I was given this stand when we were involved in a divorce with my wife, so I informed the town clerk that I wanted it to be allocated to my son. I even told him that the child did not have a national Iidentification card and was asked to bring a photocopy of his birth certificate and passport.” Mutoti said this was the time Dube was called and instructed to process the stand into his son’s name.
“Dube was called and given an instruction to allocate my stand in my son’s name since there was no waiting list by then, I was the one who came up with the idea of crafting a housing policy,” he said. However, prosecutor Ms Tafadzwa Makwande said Mutoti applied for the stand for his son, which he denied saying it was done in the housing department after he produced the required documents. Ms Makwande indicated that she wanted to submit her closing submissions on November 17, while the two lawyers will do so on November 21. Mr Mapfumo’s judgment is expected on December 5.