FIVE Harare councillors yesterday appeared before magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro charged with criminal abuse of office.
Costa Mande (40), Gilbert Thamsanga Hadebe (51), Loveness Gomba (46), lan Muteto Makone (73) and Stanley Manasi Manyenga (40), represented by Obey Shava, were all granted $100 000 bail.
Allegations are that the accused, all from the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) and being members of the finance and development committee, connived to unlawfully allocate senior council officials and members of the committee commercial and industrial stands.
It is alleged that the accused persons executed their plan in two meetings held on November 14, 2022 and December 14, 2022.
The State alleges that in executing their plan, the CCC councilors devised a plan whereby they would deliberately abscond meetings in which the issue of the allocation of stands to themselves was being discussed.
They went on to recommend the illegal allocation of 29 commercial and or industrial stands in various locations to a total of 14 councillors and 14 senior council officials and one Member of Parliament.
On November 29, 2022, an ordinary council meeting adopted the recommendations by the committee chaired by Mande to allocate the commercial and industrial stands.
It is alleged that in terms of Ministry of Local Government circular 12 (cross referenced CX/7) dated March 18, 2020, a councillor who does not have a residence within his or her ward is entitled to a single residential stand.
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If they need a commercial or industrial stand, they have to follow the normal process like any other person.
The State alleges that in acting in the manner they did, the accused persons unduly favoured themselves.