Under fire Machaya seeks trial halt

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Jason Machaya has approached the High Court seeking to have his criminal abuse of office trial stopped after Gweru Magistrate, Charity Maphosa trashed his application for discharge saying he has a case to answer.

Machaya and his suspected accomplice Chaisanyerwa Chibururu contends Maphosa erred in delivering her judgement which was “grossly irregular.”

In an application in which the State and Maphosa were cited as respondents, the two are seeking permanent stay of the trial.

“We are aggrieved by the Magistrate’s ruling hence this application,” said Machaya in his founding affidavit.

“Alternatively, the applicants want the matter to be referred to the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe for it to determine whether or not their prosecution should not be stayed.”

The State alleges that he allocated and disposed of government land which was unlawful.

Machaya argued that the Magistrate chose to stick to evidence which suit her wishes.

“The second respondent (Maphosa) paid scant regard to what the witnesses had said in their evidence. Instead she would pick and choose isolated parts of the witnesses evidence in order to make her point.

“She would only pick those aspects that tended to incriminate us ignoring the rest of the witness evidence especially those parts where the witnesses gave exculpatory evidence in our favour,” Machaya complained.

The former Minister’s application for discharge hit a brick wall recently after the state closed its case.

The case is supposed to proceed to defence case but Machaya wants the trial to stop.

He denies allegations against him saying  he acted using delegated authority in his capacity as Midlands Minister of State.

Machaya said as the then Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs – he was entitled to 10 percent of stands developed on State land which is in line with the Common Law and the “annexation” of the stands in question was within the parameters of the law.

But according to the State, the accused, intentionally allocated State land totaling 17 799 stands to land developers which was inconsistent with his duties.

Prosecutors say Machaya did not have any lawful responsibility to allocate State land to the said developers and entities as the allocation of the said land was the sole function and lawful responsibility of the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

The accused person, the court heard, further received 1 791 commonage stands from the said land developers and entities which constituted 18 percent of the total stands on the allocated State land.

It is further alleged that Machaya sold 1 185 of the commonage stands which was also inconsistent with his duties as the stands can only be allocated and distributed by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

The accused person is also alleged to have also allocated 192 commonage stands to Apostolic Christian Church of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) when he did not have lawful right or function.

The case is yet yet to be set down for hearing.