FORMER Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Jason Kokerai Machaya was reportedly picked up by Gokwe police yesterday over alleged criminal abuse of office after he fraudulently acquired 1 000 residential stands from Gokwe Town Council and later resold them.
Acting Midlands provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Ethel Mukwende could neither confirm nor deny the development yesterday, and referred all questions to her bosses in Harare.
Contacted for comment, national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she had not yet received the report.
But police sources said Machaya (65) was being detained at Gokwe Police Station and assisting police with investigations. He is expected to appear in court today.
The complainant in the matter is the State represented by Officer-in-Charge CID Gokwe, Stanford Chimbunde.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2013, the Gokwe Town Council requested for 3 000 residential stands around Mapfungautsi Extension from the Local Government ministry and the request was granted.
Machaya, as chairperson of the provincial lands committee, allegedly made a request of commonage allocation from the 3 000 stands, which entitled him to receive 10% of the allocated stands in line with the Commonage Law.
The State alleges that during the period between 2011 and 2017, Machaya abused his office powers and demanded 1 000 residential stands well knowing that he was supposed to only get 300 stands.
He allegedly hired a private land developer, Striations World Marketing Property Developers, to service the land in question.
On December 20 this year, police detectives interrogated Gokwe town engineer Clemence Madondo, who confirmed that they had allocated 1 000 stands to Machaya after the latter demanded them.
Two beneficiaries, Japhet Chingeya and Eshuate Mutsito, who bought the residential stands from Machaya, were located by the police and are likely to be brought to court as State witnesses. Newsday