Another minister of Mugabe’s cabinet, Former Midlands Minister of State Jason Machaya has appeared before the Gokwe Magistrates Court facing charges of criminal abuse of office involving shoddy land deals.
Mr Machaya was denied bail and remanded in custody till January 15, 2018. Other Mugabe’s cabinet ministers who have so far been arrested since President Mnangagwa took over the reigns of the government, include former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo who spent almost a month at Chikurubi and former Agriculture minister Joseph Made who arrested this week for criminal abuse of office as well as engaging in corruption.
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.
Our reporters saw a list of about 60 land cases in which Machaya is being implicated. Also implicated are senior Government officials in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in the Midlands Province.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made the fight against the scourge of corruption one of his top priorities if the country is to attract investors and achieve prosperity for the majority.