ZVIMBA District Rural Council chief executive, Peter Hlohla, who was recently arrested for fraud, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Monday facing criminal abuse of office allegations for illegally allocating land for residential stands in Mt Hampden.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Hlohla (40) is being charged together with former physical planner, Takura Mabaya (34) and they were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Victoria Mashamba who remanded the matter to June 14.

Hlohla was exempted from paying bail, but the court ordered him to abide by the conditions that are already in force on the fraud case, while Mabaya paid $200 bail and was ordered to surrender his passport and to report once a week at CID Norton.

The duo is represented by Dumisani Mtombeni.

It is the State’s case that on March 7, 2016 Zvimba RDC corruptly originated a letter signed by Mabaya for Hlohla to the secretary for State land in Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry requesting to be allocated an open space on the remainder of Haydon Farm, Mt Hampden area for residential purposes.

The State alleges on March 7 that same year, the department of Physical Planning responded that change of use of the open space would contradict the layout plan, as Haydon Township was not yet fully developed, hence, the application for change of use was not successful.

It is alleged on November 14, 2016 Hlohla and Mabaya corruptly sold the piece of land to Obrim Petroleum Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd.

The State alleges on December 20, the duo in apparent show of favour, applied to the Department of State Land for processing of title deeds for the same stand and they signed the letter by Mabaya for Hlohla.

Records show that the land is owned by the State as a public open space and has not been handed over to Zvimba council.

The State alleges Hlohla and Mabaya did not get approval to sell the stand. The two, with the help of a Local Government ministry official, acquired a fraudulent title deed for the stand.

They allegedly forged the signature of the deputy director State land to facilitate issuance and granting of the deed.

Mabaya is also charged separately on fraud after he allegedly converted $300, which was given to him by the council to purchase a laptop, which had been stolen from his house.

Linda Gadzikwa appeared for the State.