By Staff Reporter
FORMER Midlands Minister Jason Machaya was Tuesday sentenced by a Gweru magistrate to four years in prison on criminal abuse of office charges.
Machaya and former Midlands physical planner Chisayinyerwa Chiburur were Monday found guilty of abuse of office involving the sale of state land in Gokwe.
On Tuesday Magistrate Charity Maphosa sentenced both men to four-year jail term each with 18 months suspended on condition they do not commit a similar crime in two years.
Machaya was facing charges of allocating 17 799 residential and commercial stands to land developers. The developers in turn gave Machaya 1 791 stands and he sold 1 185.
The two accused denied the charges when their trial started last year and their bid to be discharged at the close of the State case was rejected when the magistrate ruled, they had a case to answer.
Machaya and Chibururu also sought a review at the High Court early this year, but Justice Pisirayi Kwenda declined to interfere, paving way for the trial to continue at the magistrates’ court.
Machaya is also charged with allocating 192 stands to the Apostolic Christian Church of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) when he did not have the authority to do so.
Meanwhile, defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama has filed for his clients’ bail pending appeal of the magistrate’s ruling.