Harare City Town Planner Priscilla Charumbira, wife to Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira, was yesterday appeared in court on allegations of changing land use for open spaces and wetlands without following laid-down procedures.
Charumbira was facing criminal abuse of duty charges when she appeared before Harare regional magistrate Mrs Bianca Makwande.
Prosecutor Mr George Manokore applied for her placement on remand before telling the court that he was also opposed to bail.
Charumbira’s lawyer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, challenged the placement of his client on remand, saying the facts read by the State did not disclose an offence.
Madhuku said there was no nexus between Charumbira and the alleged offence.
“The allegations do not constitute the offence of criminal abuse of office,” he said. “The facts read that the accused supervised the subdivision of land without the approval of the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development whereas it was not the duty of the accused with the office she was occupying, to seek approval by that Ministry,” said Prof Madhuku.
Mr Manokore insisted that Charumbira had a case to answer as her initials appeared on the layout plan and signature on the memorandum announcing the land use change.
Mrs Makwande rolled over the matter to today for ruling in the bail application.
The State insisted that Charumbira had a case to answer as her initials appeared on the layout plan and signature on the memorandum announcing the land use changed for recreational purposes by the Harare City Council.
The court heard that the piece of land in question was at the corner of Boshoff Drive and Seke Road measuring three hectares and was reserved for recreational purposes by the Harare City Council.
It is the State’s case that sometime in 2016, Charumbira, in her capacity as the town planner and knowing laws regarding change of reservation of property in question, acted contrary to her duties by unlawfully supervising planning and later subdivision of the land from recreational to commercial without the approval of the then Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development.