Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
THE State has withdrawn before plea, charges of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer against Victoria Falls Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube for lack of evidence.
Hwange magistrate Ms Barbara Phiri withdrew charges against Mr Dube on Tuesday after the state prosecutor Ms Kudzai Mudzamiri made a verbal submission for intention to withdraw the charges before plea.
Victoria Falls Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini had suspended Mr Dube on April 28 this year accusing him of corruption, gross incompetence, abuse of office and causing the local authority to lose revenue, before he was eventually arrested in May.
A commission of inquiry set by Victoria Falls City Council to investigate allegations levelled against Mr Dube exonerated him saying there was no wrongdoing by the Town Clerk and recommended his reinstatement which was done in June.
The commission chaired by former Victoria Falls Mayor Alderman Nkosilathi Jiyane said the charges could have emanated from personal vendettas and lack of trust within council and recommended the local authority should improve on its information handling and avoid having anyone speaking for the organisation.
After the withdrawal of the charges, Mr Dube’s defence counsel Mr Matshobana Ncube of Ncube Attorneys wrote to the council advising that the Town Clerk was now a free man.
The letter was read during a full council meeting yesterday.
“We still act for the above named Mr Ronnie Dube who is our client and is the Town Clerk for the City of Victoria Falls. We write to advise that today at the Hwange Magistrates’ Courts the State dropped charges against our client. Consequently he has been liberated as there is no pending matter at this moment in time. The net effect of the dropping of charges is that he is a free man with no charge outstanding against him,” read the letter.
Mr Dube had been out of custody on $50 000 since his arrest in May.
Allegations were that Dube (54) caused council to sell a commercial stand to a local tour operator, Shearwater Adventures in 2019 without following tender procedures.
Prosecutors were alleging that on the 28th of September 2017, Dube received a request to purchase additional land behind stands 1381, 1382, 1383, 1384, 1385, 1386 and 943 from Mr Ntokozo Mlilo, who is group human resources manager for Shearwater Adventures in Victoria Falls.
He allegedly caused for valuation of the stands by Backstone Properties who responded to him on 11 February 2019 with the value of the stand, the court was told.
It was alleged that Mr Dube misrepresented to Victoria Falls ordinary full council meeting that one applicant Shearwater Adventures had expressed interest on commercial stand number 1782 yet there were other companies that had also expressed interest such as Wild Horizons.
Council adopted the report and resolved to offer the stand to Shearwater Adventures without following tender procedures.