Fraud charged ex-minister rejects trial in Harare

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By Court Reporter

FRAUD accused former Midlands provincial minister Jaison Kokerai Machaya will now be tried at Gokwe magistrate’s court after he successfully challenged the State’s decision to move his case to the capital.

Machaya, 65, is accused of demanding 1,000 residential stands from Gokwe Town Council and later selling them for personal gains.

He is charged together with Midlands provincial planning officer Chisainyerwa Chibururu, 47.

Both appeared before magistrate Harare Estere Chivasa on Thursday with the State indicating that the case should proceed to trial.

Machaya and his accomplice objected, arguing that they never consented being tried in the capital.

“Coming to this court for remand purposes was not a problem but this is a wrong court for trial purposes,” said duo’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama.

“The State misrepresented to the accused that they want to jointly charge them with other accused persons from the Harare planning department, the surveyor general’s office and the ministry of lands yet they know they wanted their trial to heard in the capital city.”

The defence lawyer added; “This is an improper jurisdiction for the case.

“The accused persons were arrested in Gokwe; all the witnesses are from Gokwe and this court has no jurisdiction to preside over this case.

“I pray that the trial be moved back to Gokwe as there is a regional court which can handle the matter.”

The State, represented by Clemence Chimbari, opposed the defence application saying the accused persons had initially consented to the case being heard in Harare.

The magistrate ruled in favour of the accused persons saying her court has no jurisdiction to handle the matter.

“This court has no jurisdiction to entertain this matter because the accused person is not consenting,” magistrate Chivasa ruled.

She then referred the case back to Gweru for a possible finalisation of a new trial date.

Allegations are that, sometime in 2011 and 2017, Machaya allegedly used his official powers as provincial minister and acquired 1,000 residential stands out of 3,000 in Mapfungautsi which is under Gokwe Town Council administration contrary to government policy.