Road engineer spends Easter behind bars

Prosper Dembedza Herald Correspondent

Harare City Council’s principal engineer for road maintenance in the Department of Works, Albert Madanha, who is facing allegations of assaulting Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers and of forging documents to obtain land, spent the Easter holiday in custody after his bail ruling was deferred to tomorrow.

The ZACC officers had gone to Madanha’s office to arrest him for allegedly forging documents in favour of Southern Plan Energy Private Limited, to acquire land illegally.

The State opposed granting of bail saying Madanha was a flight risk.

Madanha was facing charges of criminal abuse of duty, over the illegal land issue, and assaulting and resisting law enforcement officers when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Donald Ndirowei last week.

It is the State’s case that sometime in September 2022, Southern Plan Energy approached Madanha seeking assistance on how to acquire land from the City of Harare to establish a cylinder filling station for liquified petroleum gas.

Madanha advised Southern Plan Energy to identify a vacant stand that was suitable for the intended business and they came up with the corner of Wilson Road and Piers Road in Borrowdale, which is a road servitude.

Madanha, the court heard, without permission and approval from the council, agreed with Southern Plan Energy which allowed the company to build on council land for the filing station.

Madanha allegedly issued a forged design permit and a notice to Southern Plan Energy for them to proceed with improvements on the land without following the dictates of the Urban Councils Act and contrary to his duties.

On June 2, 2023, Madanha, using the forged documents and certificates, made Southern Plan Energy pay US$2 084 as a land development levy.

Madanha did not remit the money to the City of Harare and when he did site inspections, he created a design permit. He then originated a notice to proceed with the building.

The court heard that Madanha acted contrary to his duties as a principal engineer (roads) since none of these functions were part of his official duties.

The court heard that Madanha flouted laid down council regulations and standard operating procedures for the roads division.

On the assault charge, the court heard that on Sunday last week, three ZACC Officials visited Madanha’s residence to arrest him. They identified themselves and pronounced that Madanha was under arrest.

He tried to close the door but the officers prevented him from doing so. He then allegedly started punching the officers.

After a prolonged scuffle, the officers later managed to handcuff him before taking him to ZACC offices along Herbert Chitepo Avenue in Harare.

The court heard that the two ZACC officers were bruised as a result of the assault.

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