By Mary Taruvinga
HARARE mayor Jacob Mafume will spend a third night in custody after his bail ruling was postponed to this Saturday by Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande.
Mafume is facing criminal abuse of office charges after he allegedly forced city council officials to parcel out some stands in Harare’s Westlea suburb to his sister and colleague.
The state opposed bail and called evidence of the Investigating Officer (I O) Sirihwindi who said the mayor was likely to interfere with investigations.
“There is likelihood of interfering with witnesses and also to abscond.
“The accused person is the mayor and is in the highest office. Most of the witnesses are junior to him,” said the IO.
Through his lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara, Mafume said there was no way he could interfere with investigations because he is not a city council employee.
He also said two of the witnesses were not reporting for duty.
“As an officer of this court, the accused is aware of the dire consequences of breaching bail,” said Bhatasara.
“He is a legal practitioner for 20 years; he is married with two kids. He has a car and immovable property being a residential stand in Mt Pleasant.
“He is a mayor of Harare and earns about $6 000 from this job. He generates $100 000 a month from his practice as a lawyer,” the lawyer added.
Mafume also insisted that he did not commit the offence.
He said if he did, the witnesses would be accomplices because they are the ones who have powers to parcel out some stands.
According to the state, between March 1 and 3, 2020, Mafume approached Nhekairo asking allocation of a stand to his sister Rotina Mafume and Rutendo Muguti, his colleague.
City Council had already closed interviews.
It is alleged that Mafume took the two to his junior’s office Edgar Dzehonye and consequently housing stands were given to the two.
The stands are in Westlea and measurers 600 square metres.
The state said the two did not appear on the waiting list.
Admire Nhekairo Housing Director Harare City Council is the complainant in the case.
Winnie Mandishona who was supposed to benefit from the stands and on the waiting list was prejudiced.
The state said he showed favour to his sister and colleague.