Acting city planner granted $10k bail

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ACTING Harare City planner Funny Machipisa was yesterday barred from the offices of the director of housing after he was released on $10 000 bail by the High Court.

Machipisa, who was represented by Lovemore Madhuku, is facing criminal abuse of office charges relating to irregular parcelling out of residential stands worth US$210 000 in Harare.

High Court judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda yesterday ruled that the State had failed to proffer any compelling reasons why Machipisa should not be granted bail.

This was after prosecutor Wadzanai Badalane had submitted that the State wanted more time to record witness statements and recover documentary evidence from Machipisa’s office.

“I went through the facts and it appears that the State has already established what happened, otherwise the accused person would not have been charged,” Kwenda ruled.

“The court a quo did not properly consider that there was nothing outstanding. That is misdirection and the court ought to have admitted him to bail.”

As part of bail conditions, Kwenda ordered that Machipisa continues residing at his present address, reports every Friday at Marlborough Police Station, surrenders his passport and not to interfere with witnesses and investigations.

Allegations are that between June 19 and 22, 2018, Machipisa criminally abused his office as a public officer by allocating fictitious stands in Malbereign with an unknown layout plan to prospective home-seekers who were not on the city’s housing waiting list.

The court heard he fast-tracked the allocation without due diligence and in contravention of City of Harare procedures.

It was alleged that Machipisa, acting in his capacity as City of Harare acting director of Housing and Community Services, took advantage of his position to fast-track the allocation process within the week he was acting director as the office incumbent was attending a workshop.

When the director returned, Machipisa did not advise him of the allocations, intending to conceal the transactions.

The purported stand numbers 7246 to 7250 and 7253 to 7262 do not exist in the City of Harare stand register and all processes were fast-tracked on June 22, 2018.

It was further established that stand number 7249, which was illegally allocated to Knowledge Katiyo, who was said to have joined the housing list in September 2005, was investigated and it was discovered that he was only 13 years old and was not eligible, according to City of Harare housing allocation policy.

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