Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
THE trial for the Gweru City Council director of housing and community services Shingirayi Tigere, arrested for criminal abuse of office, has been set down for June 4.
Tigere yesterday appeared before Gweru provincial magistrate Mr Edwin Marecha facing one count of criminal abuse of office.
He was not asked to plead and was remanded out of custody to June 4.
Tigere is out on $20 000 bail.
He was arrested by the police working with the Special Anti-Corruption Commission (Sacco) over the manner in which he allegedly sold a stand to Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe last year.
The stand which is listed as the remainder of Lot number 17 of Umsungwe block, was allegedly sold to Cllr Makombe without approval from the engineering department.
The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works said the stand is in a reserved area and acquisition by Clr Makombe without change of land use contravened Section 49 (3) of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act (Chapter 29:12).
After selling the stand, Tigere allegedly then sought Ministerial approval for change of ownership, a process which Gweru Council ought to have started with.
It is the council standard operating procedure that the engineering department first surveys the land before recommending its use.
In this case, Tigere allegedly sold the stand to Clr Makombe without the engineering department’s approval.
In addition, there was no ministerial approval of change of use of the land in question as is standard procedure.
Prosecutor Mr Innocent Jeche told the court that Tigere offered Clr Makombe the stand on May 13 last year following a full council meeting which recommended that he be sold the stand at 40 percent discount.
The stand number Remainder of Lot number 17 of Umsungwe block measuring 7 801 square metres had a cost price of $166 735.
The purchase price after factoring in a 40 percent discount which is $66 694,14 amounted to $100 041.
The court heard that on June 23 last year, the then City of Gweru director of engineering services Engineer Robson Manatsa wrote to council saying the alleged land was subject to planning.
Tigere therefore allegedly showed favour to Clr Makombe by selling him the stand which was still subject to planning.