3 ex-Mutare council officials arrested

Crime Reporter

THREE former Mutare City Council executives have been arrested for criminal abuse of duty after they allegedly created and sold eight residential stands measuring 20 967 square metres with an estimated value of US$482 241 without authority.

The three are former acting chief town planner Richard Simbi, former director of works Donaldson G Nyatoti and former accounting officer Obert Muzawazi.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission gave some details. 

“Richard Simbi was the acting chief town planner. During the time when the offence was committed, he was in charge of all the town planning of the City of Mutare. 

“The second accused person is DG Nyatoti who was the former director of works. His duties amongst others included town planning, making layout plans, lodging layout plans with the department of physical planning and to see that they are approved by the responsible Minister.

“The third accused person is Obert Muzawazi was the overall accounting officer of Mutare City Council by virtue of being the Town Clerk,” reads the statement. Between February 2005 and July 2014 the three allegedly unlawfully and unprocedurally created and sold eight stands from the remainder of 2485 Umtali Township.

Investigations revealed that there was no council resolution authorising the creation of those stands. Zacc said two stands were allocated to Richard Simbi and there is no proof that he paid the purchase price for the stands.

“When allocating those stands Muzawazi cited several council resolutions which do not exist purporting as if the council had authorised the sale of those stands. Knowing fully well that the local layout plan had not been approved, the accused persons acting in connivance rushed with the unapproved layout plan and disposed of residential stands to individuals measuring 20 967 square meters with an estimated value of US$482 241 without any approval from the Department of Physical Planning and Minister responsible.”

“The accused did not follow proper procedures as required by their responsibilities before parcelling out land thereby the accused persons unlawfully and intentionally did that which was contrary to or inconsistent with their duties as a public officer by showing favour to few selected officers at the expense of council’s good administration and the public at large,” Zacc said.

The three will appear at the Mutare Magistrates Court once investigations have been completed.

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