City planner granted $40 000 bail


HARARE City town planner Priscila Charumbira, charged with criminal abuse of duty, has been granted $40 000 bail by a Harare magistrate.
Charumbira, accused of supervising the planning and subdivision of three hectares of land at the corner of Boshoff
Road and Seke Road from recreational to commercial without government approval, had initially suffered a setback after regional magistrate Bianca Makwande dismissed her application challenging placement on remand.

The State had opposed her admission to bail citing interference with evidence and witnesses with the investigating officer claiming that some documents had since vanished from her office. This was challenged by her lawyer Lovemore Madhuku who stated that there has been no evidence from the State that she will interfere.

The magistrate, however, imposed a condition that she will not be allowed at her workplace and or any other
council offices for the next one month to allow smooth investigation.

The court heard that the City of Harare owns some land planned and reserved for various purposes according to the town planning status governing the area including open spaces, commercial, industrial or recreational land and all change of land reservation for land reserved by for industrial or recreational purposes is firstly approved by the ministry of local government before anything is done on it.

Allegations are that sometime in 2016, Charumbira — in her capacity as the town planner and knowing laws regarding change of reservation of the land in question which was reserved for recreational purposes by the Harare City Council — acted contrary to her duties by unlawfully supervising planning and later subdivision of the
land from recreational to commercial without the approval of the Local Government ministry.

The State alleges that at the time of the offence, she was the acting director of works responsible for overseeing the overall planning of council land.

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