Jacob Mafume bail hearing deferred
HARARE mayor Jacob Mafume, who is accused of unlawfully influencing council officials to award residential stands to his sister and colleague, will have to remain in prison until tomorrow as there was no magistrate available to deliver his bail ruling yesterday.
Mafume is facing allegations of criminal abuse of office and was not asked to plead to the charge when he appeared before regional magistrate Bianca Makwande on Friday.
The prosecution led by Panganai Chiutsi and Netsai Mushayabasa opposed bail saying Mafume was likely to interfere with witnesses due to his position as the mayor and was likely to abscond trial.
His defence team argued that he was a proper candidate for bail and the witnesses the State was relying on among them suspended council officials Addmore Nhekairo and Edgar Dzehonye were not at work as they are facing criminal charges of their own.
His lawyers said Mafume has no connections outside of Zimbabwe where he can flee to avoid trial. Makwande had initially set the bail ruling for Friday afternoon but rolled the matter to yesterday saying she could not finish writing the ruling because of time.
Yesterday, Harare magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guuriro said magistrate Makwande had attended to some pressing workrelated issues and the ruling will be delivered on Monday.
It is alleged that in March this year, Mafume approached the housing director Nhekairo and asked him to allocate residential stands to his sister Rotina Mafume and Rutendo Muvuti, his alleged work colleague at Mafume Law
It is alleged that Mafume told Nhekairo that his sister had not benefited from any council project and it was her time to be considered for the Westlea housing scheme.
The prosecution alleges by that time all interviews for prospective beneficiaries of the project had been concluded.
Rotina and Muvuti were also not appearing on the council housing waiting list hence they did not qualify for the scheme.
Having been informed of the development, Mafume allegedly continued to insist that the two be allocated stands.
He allegedly used his position as a councillor to influence council officials, who report to councillors, to allocate his sister and colleague the stands.
Mafume is further alleged to have taken his sister and colleague to the principal housing officer Dzehonye, whom he instructed to allocate the stands.
As a result of the alleged direct influence, Nhekairo allegedly instructed his juniors to ensure that Rotina and Muvuti were allocated the stands valued at $219 938 each.
The waiting list number on the stand allocated to Muvuti reportedly belonged to another person. This according to the State, shows how Mafume abused his position as a councillor.