Former acting town clerk fined ZW$70,000 for abuse of office

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By Felix Matasva, Manicaland Correspondent

FORMER Mutare acting town clerk Anthony Mutara was Friday slapped with a ZW$70,000 fine after being convicted of corruptly recruiting relatives and friends to fill in positions at Civic Centre.

He was convicted for criminal abuse of office.

Manicaland regional magistrate, Pethukile Msipa, said Mutara would be liable to four months in prison if he defaults on payment of the fine.

She suspended a 12 months imprisonment term on the condition Mutara does not commit a similar crime.

Msipa argued Mutara was a first offender.

Mutara was arrested late last year by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers, and his matter was still being heard at Mutare magistrate’s courts.

In his capacity as a town clerk, Mutara offered Geonor Ndlovu employment as a general hand, thereby running afoul to the interview and selection process.

Mutara then signed a contract on behalf of late town clerk, Joshua Maligwa, who had already passed on.

The court heard that Mutara inconsistently acted against his duties as a public officer by favouring Ndlovu after he recruited her without following proper procedures.

However, Mutara’s legal representative, Hugo Tanaya of Tanaya Law Chambers,  argued that before the offence was committed, Mutare City Council was not following its written procedures regarding contract worker recruitment.

He begged the court to give Mutara a lighter sentence,  saying the conviction had already soiled his reputation as a medical doctor.

Prosecutor Tirivanhu Mutyasira said despite provision for a fine, slapping Mutara with a fine would undermine justice since government is promoting zero tolerance to corruption.

Mutara,  who is a medical doctor, was director of health services at the city council before assuming the acting town clerk position after the death of Maligwa early 2021.