FORMER Harare housing director and now the human resources director, Mathew Marara yesterday appeared in court on corruption allegations involving the illegal sale of 150 stands in Kuwadzana, with irregularities in the approval of plans and production of fraudulent layout plans prejudicing council of US$1 141 779.
Marara appeared at the Harare Magistrates Courts facing a charge of fraud with an alternative charge of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
He was not asked to plead when he appeared before magistrate Vongai Guriro, who remanded him in custody to today for the ruling on his bail application.
The State led by Mr George Manokore, Ms Sheillah Mupindu and Ms Netsai Mushayabasa alleged that in 2017 and 2018 Marara teamed up with Edgar Dzehonye, Tapiwa Gona, Tonderai Mukora, Believer Mupawaenda, Tineyi Kureva, Margret Sarudzai George, Mazano Zvakanyorwa, Wellington Tauya, Austin Tapuwanashe, Rudo Pauline Chigocha, Bernard Mukucha and Kizito Chikowore and connived to defraud the city council.
They reportedly identified open spaces in Kuwadzana 3,4, 5 and 6 without application for change of land use, then created fictitious pay schemes and fraudulent lay-out plans.
The plans were presented as if they had been approved by council and were used to facilitate water connections and account creation in the municipal financial system.
Mupawaenda, Chigocha and Magret George have since appeared in court on similar allegations.
They were not asked to plead to the charges when they appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa charged with fraud.
The three are on $1 000 bail each.
Mupawaenda and Chigocha are attached to the Department of Housing and Community Services, while George is with the Department of Works.
Meanwhile, the trial of former Harare City Council top officials Tendayi Mahachi, Sekesai Makwavarara and Michael Mahachi on corruption charges arising from the US$80 000 Airport Road contract in a land-for-work deal with Ukrainian company Augur Investments was yesterday postponed to July 30.
The matter was deferred to allow Mahachi to liaise with his lawyer who was not available to make sure that trial starts on the next trial date.
The three deny the charges.
In their defence, they argue that the decision to engage Augur Investments to construct the road in return for 107 572 hectares of council land was collectively made by the then caretaker Harare City Council.