Former Harare mayor, Gomba denies graft allegations

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By Mary Taruvinga, Senior Reporter

THE trial of former Harare mayor, Herbert Gomba, kicked off Wednesday before high court judge Justice Pisirai Kwenda, with the mayor denying the allegations.

Gomba is jointly charged with three council officials on graft accused of corruption.

The crimes were allegedly committed in 2019.

The politician is being charged together with suspended town clerk, Hosea Chisango, finance director Stanley Ndemera and Charles Kandemiri, who also pleaded not guilty to the allegations of abuse of office.

The four are accused of criminal abuse of office after they allegedly illegally sold the Mt Pleasant Golf Course.

His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, said his client did not act in common purpose or connive with any of the co-accused persons.

“Their duties and roles do not allow them to meet and plan together before a sale, neither do these roles coincide.

“He will show that he never, in the exercise of his duties as a mayor, acted contrary or inconsistently with any of his duties as provided for in his functions,” said his lawyer.

Nkomo also told the court that his client will prove that he did not involve himself in the sale of the controversial stand.

“The sale was conducted by the relevant and responsible departments in the council and approved by both the finance and development committee and the full council.

“He shall tell the court that he did not instruct or communicate with any employee of the council or Mr Luckson Mukunguma to entertain Mavis Madzivanzira and Pauline Gutsa,” Nkomo said.

Gomba said as a mayor,  he was not involved in administrative issues pertaining to offering and sale of land.

It is his defence that his duty was only to sign the agreement of sale upon sight of the council resolution.

Gomba also said he will prove that full council and finance meetings were done procedurally.

“In any event, Mr Mukunguma does not have the right and powers to convene and hold such meetings. Councilors are invited to such meetings through a notice issued by the chamber secretary.”

Gomba also said he did not chair the September 5 meeting as alleged, claiming that he was out of Harare.

He said the meeting was chaired by the deputy mayor.

Gomba said the sale of the controversial stand was not politically motivated.

Allegations are that in August 2019, Gomba unlawfully used his position as the mayor to offer stand number 402 Vainona Township, Harare, for sale to Hardspec Investments (Pvt) Ltd, which was being represented by Mavis Madzivanzira and Pauline Gutsa.

Gomba allegedly unlawfully instructed council officials, including Ndemera, who was acting finance director, to go and meet Mandzivanzira and Gutsa so that they could be shown the portion of stand 402 Vainona, Harare, which they wanted to buy.

Gomba allegedly told Ndemera to prepare a report recommending the outright sale of the stand.

The sale was approved by the full council of September 5, 2019, yet the sale to Hardspec Investments Pvt Ltd had been concluded the previous day.

The stand was sold for $23 923 340 yet Mt Pleasant Sports Club was quoted US$2,3 million for the same stand.

It is alleged Chisango and Kandemiri played a part in the sale of this stand.