By Staff Reporter
JAILED formed Midlands provincial minister Jason Machaya who is facing criminal abuse of office charges, was Tuesday granted his wish to defer trial to next year by Gweru magistrate, Edwin Marecha.
In his application, Machaya had prayed he needed time to find a different legal counsel along with his other seven co-accused.
Marecha then postponed the trial to the period 15-19 February 2021, saying the former minister had a constitutional right to legal representation of his choice.
State counsel, Andrew Kumire had opposed postponement saying the trial had failed to kick off on several occasions.
Machaya and provincial planning officer, Chisainyerwa Chibhururu made an application to be represented by their lawyer who was not available for trial Tuesday.
The duo is already serving an effective 30-month prison term each for criminal abuse of office being convicted and sentenced in July this year.
In the latest case, the State alleges that in December 2017, Machaya, Chibhururu, former Midlands provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo, Matilda Manhambo, the provincial projects officer, Shepherd Marweyi, then Gweru district administrator, Sifelani Moyo, Ethel Mlalazi and Everest Nyamadzawo annexed over 11 000 stands owned by the State.
It is the State case that Chitiyo allegedly allocated State land totalling 4 469 stands to developers by co-signing offer letters in cahoots with Machaya.
Further allegations are that Manhambo unlawfully allocated 2 000 stands, while Marweyi is accused of parcelling out 5 199 stands to land developers.
Nyamadzawo who was administrative officer and working in the same office with Chibhururu and Moyo allegedly unlawfully wrote an instruction letter to the surveyor general instructing his office to nominate a surveyor for the State land without authorisation.
The eight are, however, all denying the charges.