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Mafume gets $40 000 bail, town clerk Chisango behind bars

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Nyasha Dube 

STAFF WRITER

duben@dailynews.co.zw

SUSPENDED Harare mayor Jacob Mafume has been released on $40 000 bail by the High Court in a matter he is accused of interfering with State witnesses.

High Court judge Justice Davidson Foroma ordered Mafume to reside at his home, report to the police every Friday and not to interfere with witnesses.

Mafume was arrested in November last year on charges of criminal abuse of office after he allegedly allocated residential stands to his sister Rotina and a colleague Rutendo Muvhuti without due process.

He was released and granted $30 000 bail by High Court judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero before being arrested again on different charges of attempting to bribe State witness Edgar Dzehonye.

Harare provincial magistrate Ngoni Nduna refused to grant the Harare mayor bail saying there was a high likelihood that Mafume would interfere with witnesses and evidence.

Mafume again approached the High Court before Justice Foroma finally granted him bail again yesterday.

In the initial matter that resulted in his arrest, allegations are that in March this year, Mafume approached the housing director Edmore Nhekairo and asked him to allocate residential stands to his sister Rotina and Muvhuti, his alleged work colleague at Mafume Law Chambers.

It is alleged that Mafume told Nhekairo that his sister had not benefited from any council project and it was her time to benefit at the Westlea project.

Allegations are that at the time, the council had closed interviews for prospective beneficiaries of the project.

Mafume allegedly used his position as a councillor to influence council officials, who report to councillors to allocate his sister and colleague stands.

Meanwhile, Harare City town clerk Hosiah Chisango will spend the weekend behind bars after he was arrested on allegations of trying to sabotage ongoing investigations into suspicious land deals in the capital.

Chisango, who was arrested last year and currently under investigation over the illicit land deals, is alleged to have caused the suspension of the council’s head of investigations.

He is also alleged to have appointed a new chief security officer while the incumbent was still in office as well as trying to take control of the security department.

Chisango was not asked to plead to criminal abuse of office charges, alternatively violating the Prevention of Corruption Act when he appeared before regional magistrate Ngoni Nduna.

He was remanded in custody to Monday for bail application with the State indicating that it will present two witnesses to support their opposition to the application.

Prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti told the court that on December 24, Chisango unlawfully directed the public safety division through a memorandum to commence reporting to him and not to the chamber secretary as is the norm.

In order to change this reporting structure, Chisango needed to seek approval from a full council meeting.

He is also alleged to have designed a new reporting structure to favour himself as he wanted to assume direct control of the department which was behind the investigation of dubious land deals by council executives, including him.

Chisango allegedly convened a meeting with the division’s management and gave a verbal directive to reinforce the memo he had originated.

It is further alleged that on January 13 this year, council’s head of investigations, Tarisai Chiendambuya, was issued with a suspension letter through Geoffrey Manyere, who had been appointed as acting chief security officer by Chisango, while the incumbent Collen Tongowona was not on suspension or leave.

The State alleges Chisango’s actions were meant to frustrate ongoing investigations into illegal land deals in Harare.

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